How To Manage People by AsimiyuOyediranKola

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									   C R E A T I N G   S U C C E S S

How to
Manage People
                            • Handle people
                            • Motivate your
                            • Boost your

 Michael Armstrong
Publisher’s note
Every possible effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in
this book is accurate at the time of going to press, and the publishers and authors
cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions, however caused. No
responsibility for loss or damage occasioned to any person acting, or refraining
from action, as a result of the material in this publication can be accepted by the
editor, the publisher or the author.

First published in Great Britain and the United States in 2008 by Kogan Page

Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criti-
cism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988,
this publication may only be reproduced, stored or transmitted, in any form or by
any means, with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of
reprographic reproduction in accordance with the terms and licences issued by the
CLA. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside these terms should be sent to the
publishers at the undermentioned addresses:

Kogan Page Limited                             Kogan Page US
120 Pentonville Road                           525 South 4th Street, #241
London N1 9JN                                  Philadelphia PA 19147
United Kingdom                                 USA

© Michael Armstrong, 2008

The right of Michael Armstrong to be identified as the author of this work has
been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act

The views expressed in this book are those of the author, and are not necessarily
the same as those of Times Newspapers Ltd.

ISBN 978 0 7494 5241 4

British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data

A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Armstrong, Michael, 1928–
  How to manage people / Michael Armstrong.
     p. cm.
  Includes bibliographical references and index.
  ISBN 978-0-7494-5241-4
 1. Management--Handbooks, manuals, etc.              2.   Leadership--Handbooks,
manuals, etc. I. Title.
  HD38.15.A765 2008

Typeset by Jean Cussons Typesetting, Diss, Norfolk
Printed and bound in India by Replika Press Pvt Ltd

    Introduction                                      1

1. What managers do                                   3
   Managerial effectiveness 4; Attributes of
   successful managers 7; Key aspects of
   management 7

2   Leadership                                       18
    What leadership involves 20; Leadership
    styles 22; What makes a good leader? 24;
    Developing leadership skills 29; Assessing
    leadership skills 30; Leadership checklists 32

3   Motivating people                                34
    Motivation defined 35; The process of
    motivation 36; How motivation
    takes place 37; Motivation theories 38;
    The key messages of motivation theory 41;
    Approaches to motivation 42; Engagement 47

4   Organizing                                       50
    The process of organizing 50; Aim 51;
    Organizational guidelines 52; Job design 54;
    Developing role profiles 55
iv ■ Contents

5    Team building                                         60
     What is a team? 61; What are the characteristics
     of teams? 61; What are the factors that contribute
     to team effectiveness? 62; How should team
     performance be assessed? 63; How should team
     performance reviews be conducted? 64; What
     needs to be done to achieve good teamwork? 65

6    Delegating                                            67
     What is delegation? 67; What are the advantages
     of delegation? 68; What are the difficulties of
     delegation? 69; Approaches to delegation 69;
     How good a delegator are you? 75

7    Selection interviewing                               77
     The nature of a selection interview 77; The
     content of an interview 79; Preparing for the
     interview 81; Planning the interview 82;
     Interviewing techniques 83; Assessing the
     data 87

8    Managing performance                                  90
     The process of managing performance 90;
     Performance planning 92; The continuing
     process of managing performance 96; Formal
     review meetings 97; Conducting a performance
     review meeting 99; Performance review skills 100

9    Helping people to learn and develop                  105
     Conditions for effective learning 106; Self-
     managed learning 107; Formal learning 108;
     Informal learning 109; How you can promote
     learning and development 109
                                                 Contents ■ v

10   Rewarding people                                   120
     Reward systems 121; Approaches to rewarding
     people 121; Fixing grades and rates of pay 124;
     Reviewing pay 125; Managing without a reward
     system 128

11   Managing change                                    130
     Approaches to managing change 130;
     Resistance to change 132

12   Handling people problems                           136
     Absenteeism 137; Disciplinary issues 139;
     Handling negative behaviour 142; Handling
     poor timekeeping 147; Dealing with under-
     performers 148

     References                                         150

     Index                                              152
This page intentionally left blank

The aim of this book is to give practical advice to managers and
team leaders on how to manage people in their teams – getting
the best results from them and dealing with any people prob-
lems that may arise.
   It is often said that people leave their managers not their
organizations. This may not always be true but there is some-
thing in it. So far as many people are concerned their manager
is the organization. They do not have much contact with other
people in authority. A business may have all sorts of progres-
sive HR policies but it is managers who have to make them
work on the ground.
   Managers depend on their people. They cannot do without
their wholehearted commitment and support. But gaining that
support, motivating and engaging them and ensuring that they
know what they are expected to do and how to do it is down to
managers. And it is a difficult task. This book is designed to
make it easier by going into the main actions that managers
have to carry out to get things done through people, namely:
managing effectively overall, leading, motivating, team
building, delegating, interviewing, managing performance,
developing and rewarding people, managing change and
handling people problems.
   The book focuses on what frontline managers, ie those
directly controlling teams of people, have to do themselves. Of
2 ■ How to manage people

course, many organizations have HR specialists to give advice
and help. But managers have largely to do it themselves. As
Professor John Purcell of Warwick University says: ‘It’s
managers who bring HR policies to life.’ And many managers
have to do their job without HR advice and this book is partic-
ularly designed to meet their needs.

     What managers do

As a manager you are there to get things done through people.
You are engaged in a purposeful activity involving others. But
you are concerned with defining ends as well as gaining them.
You decide what to do and then ensure that it gets done with
the help of the members of your team. You deal with
programmes, processes, events and eventualities. All this is
done through the exercise of leadership.
   People are the most important resource available to you as a
manager. It is through this resource that other resources are
managed. However, you are ultimately accountable for the
management of all resources, including your own. When deal-
ing with immediate issues, anticipating problems, responding
to demands or even a crisis, and developing new ways of doing
things, you are personally involved. You manage yourself as
well as other people. You cannot delegate everything. You
frequently have to rely on your own resources to get things
done. These resources include skill, know-how, competencies,
time, and reserves of resilience and determination. You will get
support, advice and assistance from your own staff and special-
ists, including HR (human resources), but in the last analysis
you are on your own.
   The rest of this book examines particular aspects of
managing people, such as leadership, organizing and motiva-
tion. This chapter focuses more generally on what you need to
4 ■ How to manage people

be and do to exercise your people management responsibilities
effectively. It starts with an overall look at the criteria for
managerial effectiveness. This is followed by a review of the
attributes of effective managers. The rest of the chapter deals
with a number of the key aspects of management.

Managerial effectiveness
As a manager and a leader you will be judged not only on the
results you have achieved but the level of competence you have
attained and applied in getting those results. Competence is
about knowledge and skills – what people need to know and be
able to do to carry out their work well.
   You will also be judged on how you do your work – how you
behave in using your knowledge and skills. These are often
described as ‘behavioural competencies’ and can be defined as
those aspects of behaviour that lead to effective performance.
They refer to the personal characteristics that people bring to
their work roles in such areas as leadership, team working,
flexibility and communication.
   Many organizations have developed competency frame-
works which define what they believe to be the key competen-
cies required for success. Such frameworks are used to inform
decisions on selection, management development and promo-
tion. Importantly, they can provide the headings under which
the performance of managers and other staff is assessed.
Managers who want to get on need to know what the frame-
work is and the types of behaviour expected of them in each of
the areas it covers.
   The following is an example of a competence framework:

■ Achievement orientation. The desire to get things done well
  and the ability to set and meet challenging goals, create
  own measures of excellence and constantly seek ways of
  improving performance.
■ Business awareness. The capacity continually to identify
                                           What managers do ■ 5

    and explore business opportunities, to understand the busi-
    ness priorities of the organization and constantly to seek
    methods of ensuring that the organization becomes more
■   Communication. The ability to communicate clearly and
    persuasively, orally or in writing.
■   Customer focus. The exercise of unceasing care in looking
    after the interests of external and internal customers to
    ensure that their wants, needs and expectations are met or
■   Developing others. The desire and capacity to foster the
    development of members of his or her team, providing
    feedback, support, encouragement and coaching.
■   Flexibility. The ability to adapt to and work effectively in
    different situations and to carry out a variety of tasks.
■   Leadership. The capacity to inspire individuals to give of
    their best to achieve a desired result and to maintain effec-
    tive relationships with individuals and the team as a whole.
■   Planning. The ability to decide on courses of action,
    ensuring that the resources required to implement the
    action will be available and scheduling the programme of
    work required to achieve a defined end-result.
■   Problem solving. The capacity to analyse situations, diag-
    nose problems, identify the key issues, establish and eval-
    uate alternative courses of action and produce a logical,
    practical and acceptable solution.
■   Teamwork. The ability to work cooperatively and flexibly
    with other members of the team with a full understanding
    of the role to be played as a team member.

Some organizations illustrate their competency frameworks
with examples of positive or negative indicators of behaviour
under each heading. These provide a useful checklist for
managers willing to measure their own performance in order to
develop their careers. Table 1.1 is an extract from a framework
used by a large housing association.
6 ■ How to manage people

Table 1.1    Positive and negative indicators of performance

                       Manage performance
   Do things well and achieve the objectives and standards agreed
                            for the role

Positive indicators   ■   Carries out work as required
                      ■   Completes work on time
                      ■   Meets quality/service standards
                      ■   Works accurately
                      ■   Sees things through
                      ■   Asks for ground rules
                      ■   Committed to achieving high-quality results
                      ■   Shows commitment to make it happen
                      ■   Seeks to raise quality standards
                      ■   Puts measures in place
                      ■   Actions match words
                      ■   Takes ownership of things to be done
                      ■   Evaluates and revises deadlines as necessary
                      ■   Takes responsibility for outcomes
                      ■   Always has a follow-up course of action
                      ■   Makes contingency plans
                      ■   Does everything within their means to
                          ensure that things get done to the best of
                          their ability
                      ■   Confronts issues
Negative indicators   ■   Frequently forgets things
                      ■   Has to be chased to meet deadlines
                      ■   Not concerned with quality
                      ■   Does not learn from mistakes
                      ■   Does not follow instructions
                      ■   Often late in delivering expected results
                      ■   Work not up to standard
                      ■   Makes too many mistakes
                      ■   Does minimum they can get away with
                      ■   Relies on others to complete actions
                      ■   No pride in the job
                      ■   Blames others for personal failure
                      ■   Conceals situations when things go wrong
                      ■   Focuses on less important activities
                                            What managers do ■ 7

                     ■ Builds achievements to be greater than they
                     ■ Agrees unrealistic deadlines
                     ■ Prioritizes badly

Attributes of successful managers
Michael Pedler and his colleagues suggest, on the basis of their
research, that there are 11 attributes or qualities which are
possessed by successful managers:

 1    Command of basic facts
 2    Relevant professional knowledge
 3    Continuing sensitivity to events
 4    Analytical, problem-solving and        decision/judgement-
      making skills
 5    Social skills and abilities
 6    Emotional resilience
 7    Proactivity
 8    Creativity
 9    Mental agility
10    Balanced learning habits and skills
11    Self-knowledge

Key aspects of management
The following key aspects of management are examined in the
rest of this chapter:

■    exercising authority;
■    making things happen;
■    prioritizing;
■    exercising control;
■    problem-solving;
■    being decisive.
8 ■ How to manage people

Exercising authority
Authoritative people are listened to. They get things done and
others take note of what they say and act on it. Good managers
demonstrate that they are authoritative by the way they
behave. They rely on the authority of expertise and wisdom
rather than the authority of power. Managers may be ‘drest in
a little brief authority’ but they have to earn respect for that
authority and keep on earning it. Ten things to do if you want
to be authoritative are set out below.

  Being authoritative – 10 things to do
   1. Be good at what you are doing as a leader, a manager,
      an expert or all three.
   2. Be able to define clearly what you expect people to do
      clearly, concisely and persuasively.
   3. Demonstrate that you know where you are going, what
      you are doing and why you are doing it.
   4. As necessary, explain the course of action you are taking.
   5. Lead by example.
   6. Accept that your authority is not absolute – it only exists if
      others recognize it.
   7. Be decisive but avoid rushing into decisions without
      careful thought.
   8. Get people to accept that there will be occasions when
      what you say goes – you are accountable and the final
      decision is always yours.
   9. Be self-confident and convey that to everyone concerned.
  10. Be a good communicator, ensuring that people know
      exactly what is expected of them.

Making things happen
Making things happen, managing for results, getting things
done – this is what management is all about. Managers have to
be achievers, taking personal responsibility for reaching objec-
                                           What managers do ■ 9

tives. John Harvey-Jones, in Making it Happen, said of the
approaches used by successful business managers:

■ Nothing will happen unless everyone down the line knows
  what they are trying to achieve and gives of their best to
  achieve it.
■ The whole of business is taking an acceptable risk.
■ The process of deciding where you take the business is an
  opportunity to involve others, which actually forms the
  motive power that will make it happen.

How to make it happen: basic questions
It is said that there are three sorts of managers: those who make
things happen, those who watch things happening, and those
who don’t know what is happening. Before finding out how to
get into the first category, there are three questions to answer:

1. Is making things happen simply a matter of personality –
   characteristics like drive, decisiveness, leadership, ambi-
   tion, a high level of achievement motivation – which some
   people have and others haven’t?
2. And if you haven’t got the drive, decisiveness and so forth
   that it takes, is there anything you can do about it?
3. To what extent is an ability to get things done a matter of
   using techniques which can be learnt and developed?

The significance of personality
Personality is important. Unless you have willpower and drive
nothing will happen. But remember that your personality is a
function of both nature and nurture. You may be born with
genes that influence certain characteristics of your behaviour,
but upbringing, education, training and, above all, experience
develop you into the person you are.

Doing something about it
We may not be able to change our personality, which,
according to Freud, is formed in the first few years of life. But
10 ■ How to manage people

we can develop and adapt it by consciously learning from our
experience and analysing other people’s behaviour.

Using techniques
Techniques for achieving results such as setting objectives,
planning, organizing, delegating, motivating and monitoring
performance can be learnt. But these techniques are only as
effective as the person who uses them. They must be applied in
the right way and in the right circumstances. And you still have
to use your experience to select the right technique and your
personality to make it work.

What makes achievers tick?
People who make things happen have high levels of achieve-
ment motivation – a drive to get something done for the sheer
satisfaction of achieving it. David McClelland of Harvard
University identified through his research three needs which
he believed were key factors in motivating managers. These
1. the need for achievement;
2. the need for power (having control and influence over
3. the need for affiliation (to be accepted by others).

All effective managers need to have each of these needs to a
certain degree but by far the most important is achievement.
This is what counts, and achievers, according to McClelland,
have these characteristics:
■ They set themselves realistic but achievable goals with some
  ‘stretch’ built in. They prefer situations they can influence
  rather than those that are governed by chance.
■ They are more concerned with knowing that they have
  done well than with the rewards that success brings.
■ They get their rewards from their accomplishment rather
  than from money or praise. This does not mean that high
  achievers reject money, which can in fact motivate them as
  long as it is seen as a realistic measure of their performance.
                                             What managers do ■ 11

■    High achievers are most effective in situations where they
     can get ahead by their own efforts.

    10 things high achievers do
     1. They define to themselves and others precisely what needs
        to be done and continually monitor their own performance
        and that of their team so that any deviation can be
        corrected in good time.
     2. They set demanding but not unattainable timescales and
        deadlines to do it, which they meet.
     3. They are single-minded about getting where they want to
        go, showing perseverance and determination in the face
        of adversity.
     4. They demand high performance from themselves and
        equally expect high performance from everyone else.
     5. They work hard and well under pressure; in fact, it brings
        out the best in them.
     6. They tend to be dissatisfied with the status quo.
     7. They are never completely satisfied with their own perfor-
        mance and continually question themselves.
     8. They snap out of setbacks and quickly regroup their forces
        and ideas.
     9. They are enthusiastic about the task and convey their
        enthusiasm to others.
    10. They are decisive in that they are able quickly to sum up
        situations, define alternative courses of action, determine
        the preferred course, and convey to the members of their
        team what needs to be done.

The sudden and often conflicting demands made on your time
means that you will be constantly faced with decisions on when
you or members of your team should do things. You will often
be in a situation where you have to cope with conflicting prior-
ities. This can be stressful unless you adopt the systematic six-
stage approach as described below.
12 ■ How to manage people

  The 6-stage approach to
  1.   List all the things you have to do. These can be classified
       into three groups:
       – regular duties such as submitting a report, calling on
           customers, carrying out a performance review;
       – special requests from managers, colleagues, customers,
           clients, suppliers etc delivered orally, by telephone,
           letter or e-mail;
       – self-generated work such as preparing proposals on a
           new procedure.
  2.   Classify each item on the list according to:
       – the significance of the task to be done in terms of its
           impact on your work (and reputation) and on the results
           achieved by the organization, your team or anyone
           else involved;
       – the importance of the person requesting the work or
           expecting you to deliver something – less significant
           tasks may well be put higher on the priority list if they
           are set by the chief executive or a key client;
       – the urgency of the tasks – deadlines, what will happen
           if they are not completed on time;
       – any scope there may be for extending deadlines –
           altering start and finish times and dates;
       – how long each task will take to complete – noting any
           required or imposed starting and completion times
           which cannot be changed.
  3.   Assess how much time you have available to complete the
       tasks, apart from the routine work which you must get
       done. Also assess what resources, such as your own staff,
       are available to get the work done.
  4.   Draw up a provisional list of priorities by reference to the
       criteria of significance, importance and urgency listed at
       2) above.
  5.   Assess the possibility of fitting this prioritized schedule of
       work into the time available. If this proves difficult, put self-
       imposed priorities on a back-burner and concentrate on
                                           What managers do ■ 13

        the significant tasks. Negotiate delayed completion or
        delivery times where you believe this is possible and, if
        successful, move the task down the priority list.
  6.    Finalize the list of priorities and schedule the work you
        have to do (or you have to get others to do) accordingly.

Described step by step like this, prioritization looks like a
formidable task. But experienced managers go through all these
stages almost unconsciously, albeit systematically, whenever
they are confronted with a large workload or conflicting prior-
ities. What many people do is simply write out a ‘things to do’
list at the beginning of the week or, in their minds, quickly run
through all the considerations described in the above six-stage
sequence and make notes on a piece of paper.

Exercising control
You exercise control of activities and the people who carry
them out in order to ensure that your plans succeed. But you
also need to protect the plans as far as possible from the impact
of Murphy’s two laws: if anything can go wrong it will; and of
the things that can’t go wrong, some will. Good control
happens when you carry out the following 10 steps.

  10 steps to achieve good control
   1. Plan what you aim to achieve.
   2. Set appropriate and fair targets, budgets and standards.
   3. Decide what you want to control.
   4. Set success criteria (key performance indicators).
   5. Decide how you are going to measure performance.
   6. Ensure that measurements are as accurate, valid and reli-
      able as possible.
   7. Measure regularly what has been achieved.
14 ■ How to manage people

   8. Ensure that those responsible for results measure their own
      performance or are provided with measurements that
      enable them to do so.
   9. Compare actual achievements as measured with plans
      and ensure that every other member of your team does the
  10. Take or initiate action to exploit opportunities revealed by
      this information or to correct deviations from the plan.

Problem solving
The process of management, not least the management of
people, attracts problems as the sparks fly upwards. At the end
of a hard day – and how often they happen – managers can
reasonably quote the mantra ODTAA (after John Masefield’s
book referring to one damn thing after another). However, all
is not lost. There are methods of problem solving as given
below that can help to overcome the pressure. And you can
always seek consolation from a very different type of writer –
Karl Marx – who claimed that: ‘Mankind always sets itself
such problems as it can solve; since, looking at the matter more
closely, it will always be found that the task arises only when
the material conditions for its solution already exist or are at
last in the process of formation.’

  10 steps for effective problem
   1. Define the situation – establish what has gone wrong or is
      about to go wrong – a problem defined is a problem half-
      solved. And this is the difficult half. The rest should follow
      quite naturally if an analytical approach is adopted.
   2. Specify objectives – define what is to be achieved now or
      in the future to deal with an actual or potential problem or
      a change in circumstances.
                                            What managers do ■ 15

   3. Develop hypotheses – develop hypotheses about what has
      caused the problem.
   4. Get the facts – find out what has actually happened
      and contrast this with an assessment of what ought to
      have happened. Try to understand the attitudes and moti-
      vation of those concerned. Remember that people will see
      what has happened in terms of their own position and feel-
      ings (their framework of reference). Obtain information
      about internal or external constraints that affect the situa-
   5. Analyse the facts – determine what is relevant and what is
      irrelevant. Diagnose the likely cause or causes of the
      problem. Do not be tempted to focus on symptoms rather
      than root causes. Test any assumptions. Dig into what lies
      behind the problem.
   6. Identify possible courses of action – spell out what each
   7. Evaluate alternative courses of action – assess the extent to
      which they are likely to achieve the objectives, the cost of
      implementation, any practical difficulties that might
      emerge and the possible reactions of stakeholders.
   8. Weigh and decide – determine which alternative is likely
      to result in the most practical and acceptable solution to
      the problem. This is often a balanced judgement.
   9. Plan implementation – timetable, project management,
      resources required.
  10. Implement – monitor progress and evaluate success.
      Remember that a problem has not been solved until the
      decision has been implemented. Always work out the solu-
      tion to a problem with implementation in mind.

Being decisive
Good managers are decisive. They can quickly size up a
situation and reach the right conclusion about what should
be done about it. To say of someone ‘He or she is decisive’ is
praise indeed as long as it is understood that the decisions are
16 ■ How to manage people

effective. To be decisive it is first necessary to know something
about the decision-making process as summarized below.
   Peter Drucker once wrote:

 A decision is a judgement. It is a choice between alternatives. It is rarely
 a choice between right and wrong. It is best a choice between almost
 right and probably wrong – but much more often a choice between two
 courses of action neither of which is probably more nearly right than the

When discussing the solution to problems with people, you
should not expect or even welcome a bland consensus view.
The best decisions emerge from conflicting viewpoints. This is
Drucker’s first law of decision making: ‘One does not make a
decision without disagreements.’ You can benefit from a clash
of opinion to prevent people falling into the trap of starting
with the conclusion and then looking for the facts that support

  10 approaches to being decisive
   1. Make decisions faster – Jack Welch, when heading
      General Electric, used to say: ‘In today’s lightning paced
      environment, you don’t have time to think about things.
      Don’t sit on decisions. Empty that in-basket so that you are
      free to search out new opportunities…. Don’t sit still.
      Anybody sitting still, you are going to guarantee they’re
      going to get their legs knocked from under them.’
   2. Avoid procrastination – it is easy to put an e-mail
      demanding a decision into the ‘too difficult’ section of your
      actual or mental in-tray. Avoid the temptation to fill your
      time with trivial tasks so that the evil moment when you
      have to address the issue is postponed. Make a start.
      Once you have got going, you can deal with the
      unpleasant task of making a decision in stages. A chal-
      lenge often becomes easier once we have started dealing
      with it. Having spent five minutes on it we don’t want to
      feel it was wasted so we carry on and complete the job.
                                          What managers do ■ 17

 3. Expect the unexpected – you are then in the frame of mind
    needed to respond decisively to a new situation.
 4. Think before you act – this could be a recipe for delay but
    decisive people use their analytical ability to come to swift
    conclusions about the nature of the situation and what
    should be done about it.
 5. Be careful about assumptions – we have a tendency to leap
    to conclusions and seize on assumptions that support our
    case and ignore the facts that might contradict it.
 6. Learn from the past – build on your experience in decision
    making; what approaches work best. But don’t rely too
    much on precedents. Situations change. The right decision
    last time could well be the wrong one now.
 7. Be systematic – adopt a rigorous problem-solving approach
    as described above.
 8. Talk it through – before you make a significant decision talk
    it through with someone who is likely to disagree so that
    any challenge they make can be taken into account (but you
    have to canvass opinion swiftly).
 9. Leave time to think it over – swift decision making is highly
    desirable but you must avoid knee-jerk reactions. Pause, if
    only for a few minutes, to allow yourself time to think
    through the decision you propose to make. And confirm that
    it is logical and fully justified.
10. Consider the potential consequences – McKinsey call this
    ‘consequence management’. Every decision has a conse-
    quence, sometimes unintended, and you should consider
    very carefully what that might be and how you will manage
    it. When making a decision it is a good idea to start from
    where you mean to end – define the end-result and then
    work out the steps needed to achieve it.


As a manager of people your role is to ensure that the members
of your team give of their best to achieve a desired result. In
other words you are a leader – you set the direction and ensure
that people follow you.
  It is necessary to distinguish between management and lead-
■ Management is concerned with achieving results by
  obtaining, deploying, using and controlling all the
  resources required, namely people, money, facilities, plant
  and equipment, information and knowledge.
■ Leadership focuses on the most important resource, people.
  It is the process of developing and communicating a vision
  for the future, motivating people and gaining their engage-
The distinction is important. Management is mainly about the
provision, utilization and control of resources. But where
people are involved it is impossible to deliver results without
providing effective leadership. It is not enough to be a good
manager of resources, you also have to be a good leader of
  John Kotter (1991) distinguishes between leaders and
managers as shown in Table 2.1.
  To be an effective leader you need to:
                                                       Leadership ■ 19

Table 2.1     Managers and leaders: John Kotter

Management involves:                 Leadership involves:

■ Focusing on managing               ■ Focusing on producing change
    complexity by planning and         by developing a vision for the
    budgeting with the aim of          future along with strategies for
    producing orderly results, not     bringing about the changes
    change.                            needed to achieve that vision.

■ Developing the capacity to         ■ Aligning people by
    achieve plans by creating an       communicating the new
    organization structure and         direction and creating coalitions
    staffing it – developing human     that understand the vision and
    systems that can implement         are committed to is
    plans as precisely and             achievement.
    efficiently as possible.

■ Ensuring plan accomplishment ■ Using motivation to energize
    by controlling and problem-        people, not by pushing them in
    solving – formally and             the right direction as control
    informally comparing results       mechanisms do, but by
    to the plan, identifying           satisfying basic human needs
    deviations and then planning       for achievement, a sense of
    and organizing to solve the        belonging, recognition, self-
    problems.                          esteem, a feeling of control over
                                       one’s life and the ability to live
                                       up to one’s ideals.

■ understand what is involved in the process – the practice of
■ be aware of the different styles of leadership available;
■ appreciate the qualities that contribute to good leadership;
■ know how best to develop your leadership abilities.

These four requirements are discussed in turn in this chapter,
which ends with three checklists on leadership.
20 ■ How to manage people

What leadership involves
Leaders have three essential roles. They have to:

1. Define the task – they make it quite clear what the group is
   expected to do.
2. Achieve the task – that is why the group exists. Leaders
   ensure that the group’s purpose is fulfilled. If it is not, the
   result is frustration, disharmony, criticism and, eventually
   perhaps, disintegration of the group.
3. Maintain effective relationships – between themselves and
   the members of the group, and between the people within
   the group. These relationships are effective if they
   contribute to achieving the task. They can be divided into
   those concerned with the team and its morale and sense of
   common purpose, and those concerned with individuals
   and how they are motivated.

These roles can be described in a number of ways as discussed

The John Adair three-circle model
John Adair (1973), the leading British expert on leadership,
explains that these demands are best expressed as three areas of
need which leaders are there to satisfy. These are: 1) task needs
– to get the job done, 2) individual needs – to harmonize the
needs of the individual with the needs of the task and the group
and 3) group maintenance needs – to build and maintain team
spirit. As shown in Figure 2.1, he models these demands as
three interlocking circles.
   This model suggests that the task, individual and group
needs are interdependent. Satisfying task needs will also satisfy
group and individual needs. Task needs, however, cannot be
satisfied unless attention is paid to individual and group needs,
and looking after individual needs will also contribute to satis-
fying group needs and vice versa. There is a danger in becoming
                                                        Leadership ■ 21

                               Task needs


Figure 2.1    Leadership model: John Adair

so task orientated that you ignore individual and group or team
needs. It is just as dangerous to be too people orientated,
focusing on meeting individual or group needs at the expense
of the task. The best leaders are those who keep these three
needs satisfied and in balance according to the demands of the

The path-goal model
The path-goal model states that leaders are there to define the
path that should be followed by their team in order to achieve
its goals. It is the leader’s job to guide and help team members
to select the best paths towards achieving their own goals and
those of the group.

The Welch way
Jack Welch (2007), former chief executive of General Electric,
has his own prescription for leadership. He writes:

 Being a leader changes everything. Before you are a leader success is
 all about you – your performance, contributions and solutions. Once you
22 ■ How to manage people

    become a leader, success is all about growing others. It’s about making
    the people who work for you smarter, bigger and bolder. Nothing you
    do as an individual matters, except how you nurture and support your
    team and increase their self-confidence. Your success as a leader will
    come not from what you do, but from the reflected glory of your team.

This is in line with the belief expressed by Charles Handy that
the post-heroic leader has come to the fore who ‘asks how
every problem can be solved in a way that develops other
people’s capacity to handle it’. The Welch way also draws
attention to the well-known phenomenon of people who are
excellent at their non-managerial job but fail when they are
promoted, for example successful sales representatives who
become unsuccessful sales managers.

Leadership styles
There are many styles of leadership and no one style is neces-
sarily better than the other in any situation. Leaders can be
classified as:

■ Charismatic/non-charismatic. Charismatic leaders rely on
  their personality, their inspirational qualities and their
  ‘aura’. They are visionary leaders who are achievement
  orientated, calculated risk takers and good communicators.
  Non-charismatic leaders rely mainly on their know-how
  (authority goes to the person who knows), their quiet confi-
  dence and their cool, analytical approach to dealing with
■ Autocratic/democratic. Autocratic leaders impose their
  decisions, using their position to force people to do as they
  are told. Democratic leaders encourage people to partici-
  pate and involve themselves in decision taking.
■ Enabler/controller. Enablers inspire people with their
  vision of the future and empower them to accomplish team
  goals. Controllers command people to obtain their compli-
                                                 Leadership ■ 23

■   Transactional/transformational. Transactional leaders
    trade money, jobs and security for compliance. Transfor-
    mational leaders motivate people to strive for higher level

Another way of describing leadership styles is linked to the
path-goal model. There are four styles:

1. Achievement-orientated leadership – the leader sets chal-
   lenging goals for followers, expects them to perform at
   their highest level, and shows confidence in their ability to
   meet this expectation.
2. Directive leadership – the leader lets followers know what
   is expected of them and tells them how to perform their
3. Participative leadership – the leader consults with fol-
   lowers and asks for their suggestions before making a
4. Supportive leadership – the leader is friendly and approach-
   able and shows concern for the followers’ well being.

But there is no such thing as an ideal leadership style. The
situation in which leaders and their teams function will influ-
ence the approaches that leaders adopt. It all depends. The
factors affecting the degree to which a style is appropriate will
be the type of organization, the nature of the task, the charac-
teristics of the group and, importantly, the personality of the
   An achievement-orientated approach may be appropriate
when expectations of the results the team has to produce are
high and team members can be encouraged to rise to the occa-
   A task-orientated approach (autocratic, controlling, direc-
tive) may be best in emergency or crisis situations or when the
leader has power, formal backing and a relatively well-struc-
tured task. In these circumstances the group is more ready to be
directed and told what to do. In less well-structured or ambig-
24 ■ How to manage people

uous situations, where results depend on the group working
well together with a common sense of purpose, leaders who are
concerned with maintaining good relationships (democratic,
participative or supportive) are more likely to obtain good
   Good leaders are capable of flexing their style to meet the
demands of the situation. Normally democratic or participative
leaders may have to shift into more of a directive mode when
faced with a crisis, but they make clear what they are doing and
why. Poor leaders change their style arbitrarily so that their
team members are confused and do not know what to expect
   Effective leaders may also flex their style when dealing with
individual team members according to their characteristics.
Some people need more positive directions than others. Others
respond best if they are involved in decision making with their
boss. But there is a limit to the degree of flexibility that should
be used. It is unwise to differentiate too much between the
ways in which individuals are treated.
   The kind of leadership exercised will indeed be related to the
nature of the task and the people being led. But it also depends
on the context and, of course, on leaders themselves. If you
have a natural leadership style and it works, you have to be
careful about changing it arbitrarily or substantially: modifica-
tion yes, to a degree, transformation, no. And you can learn
how to improve it as discussed towards the end of this chapter
so that it fits the demands of the situation.

What makes a good leader?
What makes a good leader? There is no universal answer to this
question. But Loo-Tzu in the 6th century BC had a pretty good
stab at it:
                                                     Leadership ■ 25

                             A leader is best
               When people barely know that he exists.
           Not so good when people obey and acclaim him.
                     Worst when they despise him.
            Fail to honour people, they fail to honour you.
                   But a good leader who talks little,
               When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
               They will all say, ‘We did this ourselves’.

More recent thinking about leadership has indicated that good
leaders are confident and know where they want to go and
what they want to do. They have the ability to take charge,
convey their vision to their team, get their team members into
action and ensure that they achieve their agreed goals. They are
trustworthy, effective at influencing people and earn the respect
of their team. They are aware of their own strengths and weak-
nesses and are skilled at understanding the needs, attitudes and
perspective of team members. They appreciate the advantages
of consulting and involving people in decision making. They
can switch flexibly from one leadership style to another to meet
the demands of different situations and people.
   Many other lists and explanations of the qualities required
by leaders have been produced, which complement or enhance
the definition of a good leader given above. Here are a few of
the better known ones.

John Adair
John Adair (1973) lists the following qualities good leaders
■ enthusiasm – to get things done, which they can communi-
  cate to other people;
■ confidence – belief in themselves, which again people can
  sense (but this must not be over-confidence, which leads to
■ toughness – resilient, tenacious and demanding high stan-
  dards, seeking respect but not necessarily popularity;
■ integrity – being true to oneself – personal wholeness,
  soundness and honesty which inspires trust;
26 ■ How to manage people

■ warmth – in personal relationships, caring for people and
  being considerate;
■ humility – willingness to listen and take the blame; not
  being arrogant and overbearing.

Leadership competencies
It was argued by Bennis and Thomas (2002) that the compe-
tencies of leaders (ie their skills, attributes and behaviours) are
outcomes of their formative experiences. The key competencies
are adaptive capacity, an ability to engage others in shared
meanings, a compelling voice and integrity. They claim that one
of the most reliable indicators and predictors of ‘true leader-
ship’ is an individual’s ability to find meaning in negative situa-
tions and to learn from trying circumstances.

The Industrial Society
An extensive survey conducted by the Industrial Survey (1997),
now the Work Foundation, revealed that what good leaders do
is to make the right space for people to perform well without
having to be watched over. The top 10 requirements for leader
behaviour as ranked by respondents were:

Rank      Factor
 1        Shows enthusiasm
 2        Supports other people
 3        Recognizes individual effort
 4        Listens to individuals’ ideas and problems
 5        Provides direction
 6        Demonstrates personal integrity
 7        Practises what he/she preaches
 8        Encourages teamwork
 9        Actively encourages feedback
10        Develops other people.
                                                  Leadership ■ 27

Leadership and emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence has been defined by Goleman (2001) as
‘the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and that of
others, for motivating ourselves, for managing emotions well in
ourselves as well as others’. He went on to say that ‘you act
with emotional intelligence when you are aware of and regulate
your own emotions and when you are sensitive to what others
are feeling and handle relationships accordingly’. An emotion-
ally intelligent person understands his or her strengths and
weaknesses and knows that it is more productive to manage
emotions rather than be led by them.
   Emotional intelligence, according to Goleman, is a critical
ingredient in leadership. His research showed that effective
leaders are alike in one crucial way: they have a high degree of
emotional intelligence which plays an increasingly important
part at higher levels in organizations where differences in tech-
nical skills are of negligible importance.
   The components of emotional intelligence identified by
Goleman are:

1. Self-awareness – the ability to recognize and understand
   your moods, emotions and drives as well as their effect on
   others. This is linked to three competencies: self-confi-
   dence, realistic self-assessment and a self-deprecating sense
   of humour.
2. Self-regulation – the ability to control or redirect disruptive
   impulses and moods and regulate own behaviour coupled
   with a propensity to pursue goals with energy and persis-
   tence. The three competencies associated with this compo-
   nent are trustworthiness and integrity, comfort with
   ambiguity, and openness to change.
3. Motivation – a passion to work for reasons that go beyond
   money and status and a propensity to pursue goals with
   energy and persistence. The three associated competencies
   are: strong drive to achieve, optimism, even in the face of
   failure, and organizational commitment.
28 ■ How to manage people

4. Empathy – the ability to understand the emotional makeup
   of other people and skill in treating people according to
   their emotional reactions. This is linked to three competen-
   cies: expertise in building and retaining talent, cross-
   cultural sensitivity, and service to clients and customers.
5. Social skills – proficiency in managing relationships and
   building networks to get the desired result from others and
   reach personal goals and the ability to find common
   ground and build rapport. The three competencies associ-
   ated with this component are: effectiveness in leading
   change, persuasiveness, and expertise in building and
   leading teams.

Leaders and followers
It is proposed by Robert Kelley (1991) that the role of the
follower should be studied as carefully as that of the leader.
Leaders need effective followers and one of the tasks of leaders
is to develop what Kelley calls ‘followship’ qualities. These
include the ability to manage themselves well, to be committed
to the organization, to build their competence and focus their
efforts for maximum impact.
   A report on Robert Graves by his CO in the First World War
said that ‘The men will follow this young officer if only to
know where he is going.’ This is a good start but it is not
enough. Followers want to feel that they are being led in the
right direction. They need to know where they stand, where
they are going and what is in it for them. They want to feel that
it is all worth while. They have three requirements of their

1. Leaders must fit their followers’ expectations – they are
   more likely to gain the respect and cooperation of their
   followers if they behave in ways that people expect from
   their leaders. These expectations will vary according to the
   group and the context but will often include being straight,
   fair and firm – as a 19th-century schoolboy once said of his
   headmaster: ‘He’s a beast but a just beast.’ They also appre-
                                                   Leadership ■ 29

   ciate leaders who are considerate, friendly and approach-
   able but don’t want them to get too close – leaders who
   take too much time courting popularity are not liked.
2. Leaders must be perceived as the ‘best of us’ – they have to
   demonstrate that they are experts in the overall task facing
   the group. They need not necessarily have more expertise
   than any members of their group in particular aspects of
   the task, but they must demonstrate that they can get the
   group working purposefully together and direct and
   harness the expertise shared by group members to obtain
3. Leaders must be perceived as ‘the most of us’ – they must
   incorporate the norms and values which are central to the
   group. They can influence these values by visionary powers
   but they will fail if they move too far away from them.

Developing leadership skills
It is often said that leaders are born not made. This is a rather
discouraging statement for those who are not leaders by
birthright. It may be true to the extent that some people are
visionaries, have built-in charisma and a natural ability to
impose their personality on others. However, even they prob-
ably have to develop and hone these qualities when confronted
with a situation demanding leadership. Ordinary mortals need
not despair. They too can build on their natural capacities and
develop their leadership abilities. A 10-point plan for doing this
is given below.

  A 10-point plan for developing
  leadership skills
   1. Understand what is meant by leadership.
   2. Appreciate the different leadership styles available.
30 ■ How to manage people

   3. Assess what you believe to be your fundamental leader-
      ship style.
   4. Get other people, colleagues and indeed your own team
      members to tell you what they think your leadership style is
      and how well it works.
   5. In the light of this information, consider what you need to
      do and can do to modify your style, bearing in mind that
      you have to go on being the same person. In other words,
      your style should still be a natural one.
   6. Think about the typical situations and problems with which
      you are confronted as a leader. Will your leadership style,
      modified as necessary, be appropriate for all of them? If
      not, can you think of any of those situations where a
      different style would have been better? If so, think about
      what you need to do to be able to flex your style as neces-
      sary without appearing to your team to be inconsistent.
   7. Examine the various explanations of the qualities that
      make a good leader and assess your own performance
      using the checklist set out below. Decide what you need to
      do – what you can do – about any weaknesses.
   8. Think about or observe any managers you know whom
      you have worked for or with.
   9. Assess each of them in terms of the qualities using the
  10. Consider what you can learn from them about effective
      and less effective leadership behaviours. In the light of
      this, assess where you could usefully modify your own
      leadership behaviours.

Assessing leadership skills
You can assess your own leadership skills or those of your boss
by completing the questionnaire below. This could also be used
by your team members to assess you – well worth while but it
takes quite a lot of courage and determination to do it.
                                               Leadership ■ 31

Leadership skills questionnaire
Please circle the number which most closely matches your
Leadership behaviour         Strongly agree Strongly disagree
 1 Makes clear to people        4       3       2        1
    what they have to do
    and achieve
 2 Consistently gets good       4       3       2        1
 3 Encourages people to         4       3       2        1
    use their own initiative
 4 Gives people sufficient      4       3       2        1
    scope to do their job
 5 Gives people the             4       3       2        1
    guidance, coaching
    and support they need to
    do a good job
 6 Gives regular feedback       4       3       2        1
    to people on their
 7 Values the opinions of       4       3       2        1
    team members
 8 Recognizes the               4       3       2        1
    achievements of the
    team and its individual
 9 Treats people fairly         4       3       2        1
10 Treats people with           4       3       2        1
32 ■ How to manage people

Leadership checklists
■   What needs to be done and why?
■   What results have to be achieved and by when?
■   What problems have to be overcome?
■   To what extent are these problems straightforward?
■   Is there a crisis situation?
■   What has to be done now to deal with the crisis?
■   What are these priorities?
■   What pressures are likely to be exerted?

■   What are their strengths and weaknesses?
■   What are likely to be the best ways of motivating them?
■   What tasks are they best at doing?
■   Is there scope to increase flexibility by developing new
■   How well do they perform in achieving targets and perfor-
    mance standards?
■   To what extent can they manage their own performance
    and development?
■   Are there any areas where there is a need to develop skill or
■   How can I provide them with the sort of support and guid-
    ance which will improve their performance?

■ How well is the team organized?
■ Does the team work well together?
■ How can the commitment and motivation of the team be
■ What is the team good and not so good at doing?
■ What can I do to improve the performance of the team?
■ Are team members flexible – capable of carrying out
  different tasks?
                                            Leadership ■ 33

■ To what extent can the team manage its own performance?
■ Is there scope to empower the team so that it can take on
  greater responsibility for setting standards, monitoring
  performance and taking corrective action?
■ Can the team be encouraged to work together to produce
  ideas for improving performance?

      Motivating people

Leadership is about getting people into action and ensuring
that they continue taking that action in order to achieve the
task. It is therefore very much about motivation. This can be
defined as the process of getting people to move in the direction
you want them to go. The organization as a whole provides the
context within which high levels of motivation can be achieved
through reward systems and the provision of opportunities for
growth and development. But as a manager you still have a
major part to play in deploying your own motivating skills
to ensure that people give of their best. You want them to
exert the maximum amount of positive discretionary effort –
people often have a choice about how they carry out their work
and the amount of care, innovation and productive behaviour
they display. Discretionary effort makes the difference between
people just doing a job and people doing a great job.
  You have to remember that while the organization may have
motivational processes in place such as performance-related
pay, you cannot rely upon them alone. You are the person in
day-to-day contact with employees and in the last analysis their
motivation depends on you.
  Unfortunately, approaches to motivation are too often
underpinned by simplistic assumptions about how it works.
The process of motivation is much more complex than many
people believe and motivational practices are most likely to
                                          Motivating people ■ 35

function effectively if they are based on proper understanding
of what is involved.
  This chapter therefore:
■ defines motivation;
■ offers a somewhat simplified explanation of the basic
  process of motivation;
■ describes the two basic types of motivation – intrinsic and
■ explores in greater depth the various theories of motivation
  which explain and amplify the basic process;
■ examines the practical implications of the motivation theo-
The final section of the chapter deals with the associated
concept of engagement which has come to the fore, at least in
human resource management circles, in recent years.
   What follows is based on the huge amount of practical
research that has provided the basis for the development of
motivation theory. But don’t let the word ‘theory’ put you
off. It has been said that ‘there is nothing so practical as a
good theory’, by which is meant that theories based on exten-
sive research in the field, ie within organizations, can reveal
what approaches work best and how to put them into practice.
A good example is that of two American researchers,
Gary Latham and Edwin Locke, who developed their goal-
setting theory of motivation by studying 1,184 supervisors
and finding that those who set specific production goals
achieved the highest productivity. Their further analysis of
10 field studies conducted by various researchers for a range
of jobs showed that the percentage change in performance
after goal setting ranged from 11 to 27 per cent (average 16 per

Motivation defined
A motive is a reason for doing something. Motivation is
concerned with the factors that influence people to behave in
36 ■ How to manage people

certain ways. Motivating other people is about getting them to
move in the direction you want them to go in order to achieve
a result.
   The three components of motivation are:
■   direction – what a person is trying to do;
■   effort – how hard a person is trying;
■   persistence – how long a person keeps on trying.

Motivation can be described as goal-directed behaviour. Well-
motivated people are those with clearly defined goals who take
action which they expect will achieve those goals. Such people
may be self-motivated, and, as long as this means they are
going in the right direction to achieve what they are there to
achieve, this is the best form of motivation. Most of us,
however, need to be motivated to a greater or lesser degree.

The process of motivation
Motivation is initiated by the conscious or unconscious recog-
nition of an unsatisfied need. A goal is then established which it
is believed will satisfy this need and a decision is made on the
action which it is expected will achieve the goal. If the goal is
achieved the need will be satisfied and the behaviour is likely to
be repeated the next time a similar need emerges. If the goal is
not achieved the same action is less likely to be repeated. This
process is modelled in Figure 3.1.
   From an organizational point of view, the model can be used
to illustrate a process of motivation which involves setting
goals that are likely to meet individual needs and encouraging
the behaviour required to achieve those goals. It also illustrates
two fundamental truths about motivation. First, that there is a
multiplicity of needs, goals and actions which depend on the
person and the situation. It is unwise to assume that any one
approach to motivation will appeal to all affected by it.
Motivation policies and practices must recognize that people
are different. Second, that while we can observe how people
                                          Motivating people ■ 37


        Need                                       Action

Figure 3.1   The process of motivation

behave – the actions they take – we cannot be certain about
what has motivated them to behave that way, ie what are the
needs and goals that have affected their actions.

How motivation takes place
There are two types of motivation:

1. Intrinsic motivation – the aspects of the work they do and
   the work environment which create job satisfaction and
   influence people to behave in a particular way or to move
   in a particular direction. These factors include responsi-
   bility (feeling that the work is important and having control
   over one’s own resources), freedom to act (autonomy),
   scope to use and develop skills and abilities, interesting and
   challenging work and opportunities for advancement.
2. Extrinsic motivation – what is done to or for people to
   motivate them. This includes rewards, such as increased
   pay, praise or promotion, and punishments, such as disci-
   plinary action, withholding pay, or criticism.
38 ■ How to manage people

Extrinsic motivators can have an immediate and powerful
effect, but it will not necessarily last long. The intrinsic motiva-
tors, which are concerned with the ‘quality of working life’ (a
phrase and movement which emerged from this concept), are
likely to have a deeper and longer term effect because they are
inherent in the work and the work environment and are not
imposed from outside. However, managers can exert consider-
able influence on the work environment and this can be a
powerful motivational tool.

Motivation theories
The process of motivation as described above is broadly based
on a number of motivation theories which attempt to explain in
more detail what it is all about. These theories have prolifer-
ated over the years. Some of them, like the crude ‘instrumen-
tality’ theory which was the first to be developed and is
essentially a ‘carrot and stick’ approach to motivation, have
largely been discredited, at least in psychological circles,
although they still underpin the beliefs of some managers
about motivation and pay systems. Others such as those devel-
oped by Maslow and Herzberg are no longer highly regarded
because they are not supported by field research (Maslow)
or because the field research was flawed (Herzberg). However,
Maslow did contribute the useful notions that ‘man (sic) is a
wanting animal’ and that ‘a satisfied want is no longer a moti-
vator’. And Herzberg convincingly argued that extrinsic
motivation, especially money, was a ‘hygiene factor’ which will
not provide lasting satisfaction but could cause dissatisfaction
if the organization got it wrong. Conversely, intrinsic motiva-
tion, ‘motivation through the work itself’, was a ‘satisfier’
which could make a long-term positive impact on performance.
Both these writers, together with others in the field, developed
classifications of the various needs that can motivate people,
such as achievement, responsibility, autonomy and growth.
   The two most significant theories for the practitioner are
goal theory and expectancy theory.
                                           Motivating people ■ 39

Goal theory
Goal theory as developed by Latham and Locke (1979) states
that motivation and performance are higher when individuals
are set specific goals, when goals are difficult but accepted, and
when there is feedback on performance. Participation in goal
setting is important as a means of getting agreement to the
setting of higher goals. Difficult goals must be agreed and
their achievement reinforced by guidance and advice. As
long as they are agreed, demanding goals lead to better perfor-
mance than easy ones. Finally, feedback is vital in maintaining
motivation, particularly towards the achievement of even
higher goals.

Expectancy theory
Expectancy theory states that people will be motivated when a
clearly perceived and usable relationship exists between perfor-
mance and outcome, and the outcome is seen as a means of
satisfying needs. In other words they 1) are clear about the
goals they are aiming for, 2) believe in their ability to reach
those goals, 3) are aware of the rewards they will get from
achieving the goals and 4) consider that the rewards will be
worth the effort involved.
   Expectancy theory explains why extrinsic financial motiva-
tion – for example, an incentive or bonus scheme – works only
if the link between effort and reward is clear and the reward is
worth having, ie there is a clear line of sight between them. It
also explains why intrinsic motivation arising from the work
itself can be more powerful than extrinsic motivation; intrinsic
motivation outcomes are more under the control of individuals,
who can place greater reliance on their past experiences to indi-
cate the extent to which positive and advantageous results are
likely to be obtained by their behaviour.
   This theory was developed by Porter and Lawler (1968) into
a model which suggests that the two basic factors determining
the effort people put into their jobs are, first, the value of the
rewards to individuals in so far as they satisfy their needs for
40 ■ How to manage people

security, social esteem, autonomy and growth, and second, the
probability that rewards depend on effort, as perceived by indi-
viduals – in other words, their expectations about the relation-
ships between effort and reward. Thus, the greater the value of
a set of awards and the higher the probability that receiving
each of these rewards depends upon effort, the greater the
effort that will be put forth in a given situation.
   But mere effort is not enough. It has to be effective effort if it
is to produce the desired performance. The two variables, in
additional to effort, which affect achievement are: ability –
individual characteristics such as intelligence, skills and know
how; and role perceptions – what individuals want to do or
think they are required to do. These are good from the view-
point of the organization if they correspond with what it thinks
the individual ought to be doing. They are poor if the views of
the individual and the organization do not coincide.
   A model of expectancy theory produced by Porter and
Lawler (1968) which incorporates these factors is shown in
Figure 3.2.

Value of rewards                Abilities

                                 Effort               Performance

  Probability that
 reward depends
    upon effort

Figure 3.2 Motivation expectancy theory model (Porter and
Lawler, 1968)
                                         Motivating people ■ 41

The key messages of motivation
The key messages provided by motivation theory are summa-
rized below.

Extrinsic and intrinsic motivating factors
Extrinsic rewards provided by the employer, including pay, will
be important in attracting and retaining employees and, for
limited periods, increasing effort and minimizing dissatisfac-
tion. Intrinsic rewards related to responsibility, achievement
and the work itself may have a longer term and deeper impact
on motivation.

The significance of needs and wants
People will be better motivated if their work experience satis-
fies their social and psychological needs as well as their
economic needs.

The influence of goals
Individuals at work are motivated by having specific goals, and
they perform better when they are aiming for difficult goals
which they have accepted and when they receive feedback on

The importance of expectations
The degree to which people are motivated will depend not only
upon the perceived value of the outcome of their actions – the
goal or reward – but also upon their perceptions of the likeli-
hood of obtaining a worthwhile reward, ie their expectations.
They will be highly motivated if they can control the means to
attain their goals.
42 ■ How to manage people

Approaches to motivation
Taking the lessons learnt from motivation theory into account,
the approaches you can adopt to motivating people can be clas-
sified under three headings:

1. valuing people;
2. rewarding them financially;
3. providing non-financial rewards.

Valuing people
Motivation will be enhanced if people feel that they are valued.
This means investing in their success, trusting and empowering
them, giving them the opportunity to be involved in matters
with which they are concerned, keeping them fully in the
picture, treating them fairly and like human beings, rather than
‘resources’ to be exploited in the interests of management, and
providing them with rewards (financial and non-financial)
which demonstrate the extent to which they are valued.

Financial rewards
Money, in the form of pay or some other sort of remuneration,
is the most obvious form of reward. Money provides the carrot
which most people want.
   However, doubts have been cast on the effectiveness of
money as a motivator by Herzberg et al (1957) because, they
claimed, while the lack of it can cause dissatisfaction, its provi-
sion does not result in lasting satisfaction. There is something
in this, especially for people on fixed salaries or rates of pay
who do not benefit directly from an incentive scheme. They
may feel good when they get an increase; apart from the extra
money, it is a highly tangible form of recognition and an effec-
tive means of helping people to feel that they are valued. But
this feeling of euphoria can rapidly die away. Other dissatisfac-
tions from Herzberg’s list of hygiene factors, such as working
                                            Motivating people ■ 43

conditions or the quality of management, can loom larger in
some people’s minds when they fail to get the satisfaction they
need from the work itself. However, it must be re-emphasized
that different people have different needs and wants; some will
be much more motivated by money than others. What cannot
be assumed is that money motivates everyone in the same way
and to the same extent. Thus it is naive to think that the intro-
duction of a performance-related scheme will miraculously
transform everyone overnight into well-motivated, high-
performing individuals.
   Nevertheless, money provides the means to achieve a number
of different ends. It is a powerful force because it is linked
directly or indirectly to the satisfaction of many needs. It clearly
satisfies basic needs for survival and security, if it is coming in
regularly. It can also satisfy the need for self-esteem (it is a
visible mark of appreciation) and status – money can set you in
a grade apart from your fellows and can buy you things they
can’t to build up your prestige. Money satisfies the less desir-
able but still prevalent drives of acquisitiveness and cupidity.
   Money may in itself have no intrinsic meaning, but it
acquires significant motivating power because it comes to sym-
bolize so many intangible goals. It acts as a symbol in different
ways for different people, and for the same person at different
times. And pay is often the dominant factor in the choice of
employer and pay considerations are powerful in binding
people to their present job.
   But do financial incentives motivate people? The answer is
yes, for those people who are strongly motivated by money and
whose expectations that they will receive a financial reward are
high. But less confident employees may not respond to incen-
tives which they do not expect to achieve. It can also be argued
that extrinsic rewards may erode intrinsic interest – people who
work just for money could find their tasks less pleasurable and
may not, therefore, do them so well. What we do know is that
a multiplicity of factors is involved in performance improve-
ments and many of those factors are interdependent.
   Money can therefore provide positive motivation in the
right circumstances not only because people need and want
44 ■ How to manage people

money but also because it serves as a highly tangible means of
recognition. But badly designed and managed pay systems can
demotivate. Another researcher in this area was Eliot Jaques
(1961), who emphasized the need for such systems to be
perceived as being fair and equitable. In other words, the
reward should be clearly related to effort or level of responsi-
bility and people should not receive less money than they
deserve compared with their fellow workers. Jaques called this
the ‘felt fair’ principle.

Non-financial rewards
From your point of view as a people manager, money is not
only an unreliable motivator but its provision as an incentive is
often outside your control. Many public sector organizations
and many charities have pay spines in which pay progression is
dependent on service rather than performance and line
managers have little or no impact on the rate at which they
progress. Even when pay is related to performance, line
managers have to live with the system adopted by the organiza-
tion. Their influence is often limited to rating people’s per-
formance but the amount distributed is probably controlled
by the management. But they can have much more control
over non-financial rewards, including the intrinsic rewards
which, as noted above, can have a powerful and long-lasting
effect on motivation. The main non-financial rewards as
discussed below are recognition, achievement, responsibility
and autonomy, and opportunities for personal development
and growth.

Recognition is one of the most effective methods of motivating
people. They need to know not only how well they have
achieved their objectives or carried out their work but also that
their achievements are appreciated.
  Recognition can be provided by positive and immediate feed-
back from you which acknowledges what has been achieved.
                                          Motivating people ■ 45

Simply saying thank you and explaining why may be enough.
You also recognize people when you listen to and act upon
their suggestions. Other actions which provide recognition
include allocation to a high-profile project, enlargement of the
job to provide scope for more interesting and rewarding work
and recommending promotion or inclusion in a high-profile
development programme.
  Public ‘applause’ – letting everyone know that someone has
done well – is another form of recognition. But it must be used
with care. One person’s recognition implies an element of non-
recognition to others and the consequences of having winners
and losers need to be carefully managed.
  Many organizations have formal recognition schemes which
give managers scope, including a budget, to provide individuals
(and importantly, through them, their partners) with tangible
means of recognition in the forms of gifts, vouchers, holidays
or trips in the UK or abroad, days or weekends at health spas,
or meals out. Team awards may be through outings, parties
and meals. Managers can provide individuals and teams with
small recognition rewards from their budget and can nominate
people for larger awards.
  The principles you need to bear in mind in providing recog-
nition are that it:

■   should be given for specially valued behaviours and excep-
    tional effort as well as for special achievements;
■   is about valuing people; it should be personalized so that
    people appreciate that it applies to them;
■   needs to be applied equitably, fairly and consistently
    throughout your team;
■   must be genuine, not used as a mechanistic motivating
■   needs to be given as soon as possible after the achievement;
■   should be available to all;
■   should be available for teams as well as individuals to
    reward collective effort and avoid creating isolated
46 ■ How to manage people

People feel rewarded and motivated if they have the scope to
achieve as well as being recognized for the achievement.
University researchers, for example, want to enhance their
reputation as well as making a significant contribution to their
institution’s research rating.
   If achievement motivation is high it will result in discre-
tionary behaviour. Discretionary or self-motivated behaviour
occurs when people take control of situations or relationships,
direct the course of events, create and seize opportunities, enjoy
challenge, react swiftly and positively to new circumstances
and relationships, and generally ‘make things happen’. People
who are driven by the need to achieve are likely to be proactive,
to seek opportunities and to insist on recognition. You can
develop achievement motivation by ensuring people know
what they are expected to achieve, giving them the opportunity
to achieve, providing the support and guidance that will enable
them to achieve and recognizing their achievements.

Responsibility and autonomy
You can motivate people by giving them more responsibility for
their own work and more autonomy in the sense that they can
make their own decisions without reference to you. This is in
line with the concept of intrinsic motivation which emphasizes
that a major influence on motivation is provided by the work
itself – people are motivated when they are provided with the
means to achieve their goals. The scope for designing or
redesigning roles varies according to the nature of the work.
But where there is an opportunity it is worth seizing, and
methods of doing so are examined in the next chapter.

Opportunity to develop
Most people want to develop – to get a better or more inter-
esting job and to advance their careers either through promo-
tion or laterally by expanding their roles. You can use this need
as a motivator by providing learning and development oppor-
tunities, making use of what is available in the organization but
                                             Motivating people ■ 47

also giving people additional responsibilities so that they gain
experience with whatever support and guidance you need to
give them.

  10 steps to achieving higher
   1. Agree demanding but achievable goals.
   2. Create expectations that certain behaviours and outputs
      will produce worthwhile rewards when people succeed.
   3. Provide feedback on performance.
   4. Design jobs which enable people to feel a sense of accom-
      plishment, to express and use their abilities and to exercise
      their own decision-making powers.
   5. Make good use of the organization’s reward system to
      provide appropriate financial incentives.
   6. Provide recognition and praise for work well done.
   7. Communicate to your team and its members the link
      between performance and reward, thus enhancing expec-
   8. Provide effective leadership.
   9. Give people the guidance and training which will develop
      the knowledge and skills they need to improve their perfor-
      mance and be rewarded accordingly.
  10. Offer opportunities for learning and development which
      will enable them to advance their careers.

Engagement takes place when people are committed to their
work. They are interested, indeed excited, about what they do.
It can exist even when individuals are not committed to the
organization except in so far as it gives them the opportunity
and scope to perform and to develop their skills and potential.
They may be more attached to the type of work they carry out
48 ■ How to manage people

than to the organization that provides that work, especially if
they are knowledge workers. Getting job engagement is more
likely when people feel empowered, as discussed at the end of
this section.

Developing job engagement
Developing job engagement starts with job design or ‘role
development’. This will focus on the provision of:

■   interest and challenge – the degree to which the work is
    interesting in itself and creates demanding goals for people;
■   variety – the extent to which the activities in the job call for
    a selection of skills and abilities;
■   autonomy – the freedom and independence the job holder
    has, including discretion to make decisions, exercise choice,
    schedule the work and decide on the procedures to carry it
    out, and the job holder’s personal responsibility for
■   task identity – the degree to which the job requires comple-
    tion of a whole and identifiable piece of work;
■   task significance – the extent to which the job contributes
    to a significant end result and has a substantial impact on
    the lives and work of other people.

All these factors are affected by the quality of leadership. The
latter is vital. You can make a major contribution to achieving
job engagement and therefore higher performance by the way
in which you lead people, and this includes making an effort to
ensure that their jobs have the characteristics set out above. All
this depends more on the way in which you manage and lead
job holders than on any formal process of job design. You often
have considerable discretion on how you allocate work and the
extent to which you delegate. You can provide feedback which
recognizes the contribution of people and you can spell out the
significance of the work they do.
                                           Motivating people ■ 49

Empowering people
Job engagement is increased if people are empowered, ie they
have more ‘power’ or scope to exercise control over and take
responsibility for their work. It means allowing them more
autonomy. Empowerment releases the creative and innovative
capacities of people and provides for greater job satisfaction,
motivation and commitment. It is about engaging both the
hearts and minds of people so that they can take the opportuni-
ties available to them for increased responsibility. Ten ways of
empowering people are set out below.

   1. Delegate more.
   2. Involve people in setting their targets and standards of
      performance and in deciding on performance measures.
   3. Allow individuals and teams more scope to plan, act and
      monitor their own performance.
   4. Involve people in developing their own solutions to prob-
   5. Create self-managed teams – ones that set their own
      objectives and standards and manage their own perfor-
   6. Give people a voice in deciding what needs to be done.
   7. Help people to learn from their own mistakes.
   8. Encourage continuous development so that people can
      both grow in their roles and grow their roles.
   9. Share your vision and plans with members of your team.
  10. Trust people and treat them as adults.


The management of people in organizations constantly raises
questions such as ‘Who does what?’, ‘How should activities be
grouped together?’, ‘What lines and means of communication
need to be established?’, ‘How should people be helped to
understand their roles in relation to the objectives of their team
and the organization and the roles of their colleagues?’ and
‘Are we doing everything that we ought to be doing and
nothing that we ought not to be doing?’
   As a manager or team leader you might have been promoted,
transferred or recruited into your post and have been presented
with an established organization structure – a framework for
getting things done. Very occasionally, you may have to set up
your own organization. More frequently, you may feel that
there are improvements which can usefully be made to the
structure or to the ways in which responsibilities and tasks are
allocated to members of your team. To do this it is useful to
understand the process and aim of organizing, the guidelines
available on organizing, the approach to job design and how to
define roles, as explained in this chapter.

The process of organizing
The process of organizing can be described as the design, devel-
opment and maintenance of a system of coordinated activities
                                                 Organizing ■ 51

in which individuals and groups of people work cooperatively
under leadership towards commonly understood and accepted
goals. This may involve the grand design or redesign of the
total structure, but most frequently it is concerned with the
organization of particular functions and activities and the basis
upon which the relationships between them are managed.
   There are two important points to bear in mind about orga-
nizations. First, organizations are not static things. Changes are
constantly taking place in the business itself, in the environ-
ment in which the business operates, and in the people who
work in the business. Second, organizations consist of people
working more or less cooperatively together. Inevitably, and
especially at managerial levels, the organization may have to be
adjusted to fit the particular strengths and attributes of the
people available. The result may not conform to the ideal, but
it is more likely to work than a structure that ignores the
human element. It is always desirable to have an ideal structure
in mind, but it is equally desirable to modify it to meet partic-
ular circumstances, as long as there is awareness of the poten-
tial problems that may arise. This may seem an obvious point,
but it is frequently ignored by management consultants and
others who adopt a doctrinaire approach to organization,
sometimes with disastrous results.

Bearing in mind the need to take an empirical approach to
organizing, the aim of organizing could be defined as being to
optimize the arrangements for conducting the affairs of the
business or business unit. To do this it is necessary, as far as
circumstances allow, to:
■ clarify the overall purposes of the organization or organiza-
  tional unit;
■ define the key activities required to achieve that purpose;
■ group these activities logically together to avoid unneces-
  sary overlap or duplication;
52 ■ How to manage people

■ provide for the integration of activities and the achievement
  of cooperative effort and teamwork in pursuit of the
  common purpose;
■ build flexibility into the system so that organizational
  arrangements can adapt quickly to new situations and chal-
■ clarify individual roles, accountabilities and authorities;
■ design jobs to make the best use of the skills and capacities
  of the job holders and to provide them with high levels of
  intrinsic motivation.

Organizational guidelines
No absolute standards exist against which an organization
structure can be judged. There is no such thing as an ideal orga-
nization; there is never one right way of organizing anything
and there are no absolute principles which govern organiza-
tional choice. But there are some guidelines as described below
which you can refer to if faced with the job of setting up or
reviewing an organization. They are not absolutes but they are
worth considering in the light of your analysis of the needs of
the situation:

■ Allocation of work – the work that has to be done should
  be defined and allocated to work teams, project groups and
  individual positions. Related activities should be grouped
■ Differentiation and integration – it is necessary to differen-
  tiate between the different activities that have to be carried
  out, but it is equally necessary to ensure that these activities
  are integrated so that everyone in the team is working
  towards the same goals.
■ Teamwork – jobs should be defined and roles described in
  ways that facilitate and underline the importance of team-
  work. Areas where cooperation is required should be
  emphasized. Wherever possible, self-managing teams should
                                                Organizing ■ 53

    be set up with the maximum amount of responsibility to
    run their own affairs, including planning, budgeting and
    exercising quality control. Networking should be encour-
    aged in the sense of people communicating openly and
    informally with one another as the need arises. It should be
    recognized that these informal processes can be more
    productive than rigidly ‘working through channels’ as set
    out in an organization chart.
■   Flexibility – the structure should be flexible enough to
    respond quickly to change, challenge and uncertainty. At
    management levels a ‘collegiate’ approach to team opera-
    tion should be considered in which people share responsi-
    bility and are expected to work with their colleagues in
    areas outside their primary function or skill.
■   Role clarification – people should be clear about their roles
    as individuals and as members of a team. They should
    know what they will be held accountable for and be given
    every opportunity to use their abilities in achieving objec-
    tives which they have agreed and are committed to. Role
    profiles should define key result areas but should not act as
    straitjackets, restricting initiative and unduly limiting
    responsibility. Elaborate job descriptions listing every task
    are unnecessary as they limit flexibility and authority and,
    because they appear to be comprehensive, invite some
    people to make the remark that ‘It is not in my job descrip-
■   Decentralization – authority to make decisions should be
    delegated as close to the scene of action as possible.
■   Delayering – too many layers create unnecessary ‘pecking
    orders’, inhibit communications and limit flexibility.
■   Span of control – there is a limit to the number of people
    one manager or team leader can control, although this limit
    varies according to the nature of the work and the people
    who carry it out. In fact, you can work with a far larger
    span than you imagine as long as you are prepared
    to delegate more, to avoid becoming involved in too much
    detail and concentrate on developing good teamwork.
54 ■ How to manage people

■ ‘One-over-one’ relationships – situations in which a single
  manager controls another single manager who in turn
  controls a team of people can cause confusion as to who is
  in charge and how the duties of the two people in the one-
  over-one relationship are divided.
■ One person one boss – ideally individuals should be res-
  ponsible to one person so that they know where they stand.
  One of the main exceptions to this rule occurs when
  someone has a direct ‘line’ responsibility to a manager but
  also has a ‘functional’ responsibility to a senior member of
  the individual’s function, who is concerned with main-
  taining corporate standards for the function and dealing
  with corporate policies. But in such cases the way in which
  functional responsibility is exercised and its limits have to
  be defined and, usually, it is understood that individuals are
  accountable to their line manager for achieving results
  within their department or team.

Job design
Unless you are responsible for entirely prescribed production-
line-type operations there is likely to be some scope for you to
influence the way in which the jobs in your unit are designed.
Job design involves deciding on the content of jobs, that is, the
responsibilities, duties or tasks that should be grouped together
in a single job. This means analysing the overall task which the
team exists to achieve in order to establish the activities that
need to be carried out, and dividing these activities between the
members of the team.
   Job design has three aims: first, to ensure that the work that
needs to be done gets done; second, to provide the maximum
degree of intrinsic motivation and job engagement for those
who have to carry out the work; and third, to fulfil the social
responsibilities of the organization to the people who work in it
by improving the quality of their working life.
   There are 10 steps you can take to ensure that these aims are
                                                   Organizing ■ 55

   1. Where possible, arrange for people to work on a
      complete activity or product, or a significant part of it
      which can be seen as a whole.
   2. Combine interdependent tasks into a job.
   3. Provide a variety of tasks within the job.
   4. Arrange work in a way that allows individuals to influence
      their work methods and pace.
   5. Include tasks that offer some degree of autonomy for
      employees in the sense of making their own decisions.
   6. Ensure that individuals can receive feedback about how
      well they are doing, preferably by evaluating their perfor-
      mance themselves.
   7. Provide employees with the information they need to
      monitor their performance and make decisions.
   8. Provide internal and external customer feedback directly
      to employees.
   9. As far as possible, ensure that the job is perceived by indi-
      viduals as requiring them to use abilities they value in
      order to perform it effectively.
  10. Provide opportunities for employees to achieve outcomes
      that they consider desirable such as personal advance-
      ment in the form of increased pay, scope for developing
      expertise, improved status within a work group and a
      more challenging job.

Developing role profiles
As part of the process of organizing work you need to ensure
that everyone is aware of what they have to achieve, the know-
ledge and skills they need and how they are expected to carry
out their job. This means developing role profiles in conjunc-
tion with job holders. It is essential that they take part in this
process to maximize the degree to which they understand and
accept their role requirements. A role profile is much more than
the list of tasks included in a conventional job description. As
the name implies, role profiles emphasize more strongly the
parts that people are expected to play in terms of the outcomes
56 ■ How to manage people

they are expected to achieve and how they are expected to
behave (behavioural competencies) in, for example, upholding
organizational values. Role profiles also spell out what role
holders need to know and be able to do – their knowledge and
skills requirements.
  To develop a role profile it is necessary for you to get
together with the individual members of your team to agree the
key result areas, knowledge and skills and behavioural compe-
tencies they need. The sort of questions you can ask to obtain
this information include:

■   What do you think are the most important things you have
    to do?
■   What do you believe you are expected to achieve in each of
    these areas?
■   How will you – or anyone else – know whether or not you
    have achieved them?
■   What have you to know and be able to do to perform effec-
    tively in these areas?
■   What knowledge and skills in terms of qualifications, tech-
    nical and procedural knowledge, problem-solving, plan-
    ning and communication skills etc do you need to carry out
    the role effectively?
■   How do you think someone in this role should behave in
    getting the work done? (Reference can be made to a
    published set of core values or a competency framework
    defining key behaviours if these are available.)

If you have an HR (human resources) department, you should
be able to obtain advice and help in preparing profiles.

Role profile definition
Role profiles can be set out under the following headings:

■   Role title
■   Department
                                                  Organizing ■ 57

■   Responsible to
■   Responsible to role holder
■   Purpose of the role – defined in one reasonably succinct
    sentence which defines why the role exists in terms of the
    overall contribution the role holder makes.
■   Key result areas – if at all possible these should be limited to
    seven or eight, certainly not more than ten. Each key result
    area should be defined in a single sentence which describes
    the purpose of the activity in terms of the outcomes to be
■   Need to know – the knowledge required overall or in
    specific key result areas of the business and its competitors
    and customers, techniques, processes, procedures or prod-
■   Need to be able to do – the skills required in each area of
■   Expected behaviour – the behaviours particularly expected
    of the role holder (behavioural competencies), which may
    be extracted from the organization’s competency frame-
    work or statement of core values.

An example of a role profile is given in Figure 4.1.
58 ■ How to manage people

  Role title: Database administrator

  Department: Information systems

  Purpose of role: Responsible for the development and support
  of databases and their underlying environment.

  Key result areas
    ● Identify database requirements for all projects that
       require data management in order to meet the needs of
       internal customers.
    ● Develop project plans collaboratively with colleagues to
       deliver against their database needs.
    ● Support underlying database infrastructure.
    ● Liaise with system and software providers to obtain
       product information and support.
    ● Manage project resources (people and equipment) within
       predefined budget and criteria, as agree with line
       manager and originating department.
    ● Allocate work to and supervise contractors on day-to-day
    ● Ensure security of the underlying database infrastructure
       through adherence to established protocols and to
       develop additional security protocols where needed.

  Need to know
    ● Oracle database administration.
    ● Operation of Oracle RDBMS, SQL*Plus and BPEL
      Process Manager.

  Able to:
    ● Analyse and choose between options where the solution
       is not always obvious.
    ● Develop project plans and organize own workload on a
       timescale of 1–2 months.
    ● Adapt to rapidly changing needs and priorities without
       losing sight of overall plans and priorities.
    ● Interpret budgets in order to manage resources effec-
       tively within them.
                                                 Organizing ■ 59

    ●   Negotiate with suppliers.
    ●   Keep abreast of technical developments and trends,
        bring these into day-to-day work when feasible and build
        them into new project developments.

  Behavioural competencies
    ● Aim to get things done well and set and meet challenging
    ● Analyse information from a range of sources and develop
      effective solutions/recommendations.
    ● Communicate clearly and persuasively, orally or in
      writing, dealing with technical issues in a non-technical
    ● Work participatively on projects with technical and non-
      technical colleagues.
    ● Develop positive relationships with colleagues as the
      supplier of an internal service.

Figure 4.1   Example of a role profile

                    Team building

One of your most important roles as a manager is to act as a
team builder – developing and making the best use of the
capacity of your team so that its members jointly deliver supe-
rior levels of performance.
   Team building takes place when you clarify the team’s
purpose and goals, ensure that its members work well together,
strengthen the team’s collective skills, enhance commitment
and confidence, remove externally imposed obstacles and
create opportunities for team members to develop their skills
and competencies.
   To undertake this task you need to get answers to these ques-

■    What is a team?
■    What are the characteristics of teams?
■    What are the factors that contribute to team effectiveness?
■    How should team performance be assessed?
■    How should team performance reviews be conducted?
■    And overall, what needs to be done to obtain good team-
                                               Team building ■ 61

What is a team?
A team is a group of people with complementary skills who
work together to achieve a common purpose. Their team leader
sets the direction, provides guidance and support, coordinates
the team’s activities, ensures that each team member plays his
or her part, promotes the learning and development of team
members, consults with the team on issues affecting its work
and, in conjunction with team members, monitors and reviews
team performance.
   However, some organizations have developed the concept of
self-managing teams which are largely autonomous, respon-
sible to a considerable degree for planning and scheduling
work, problem solving, developing their own key performance
indicators and setting and monitoring team performance and
quality standards. The role of their team leaders is primarily to
act as coordinators and facilitators; their style is expected to be
more supportive and facilitative than directive.

What are the characteristics of
In their influential book The Magic of Teams, Katzenbach and
Smith (1993) suggested that the characteristics of teams were as

■ Teams are the basic units of performance for most organi-
  zations. They meld together the skills, experiences and
  insights of several people.
■ Teamwork applies to the whole organization as well as to
  specific teams. It represents a set of values that encourage
  behaviours such as listening and responding cooperatively
  to points of view expressed by others, giving others the
  benefit of the doubt, providing support to those who need
  it and recognizing the interests and achievements of others.
62 ■ How to manage people

■ Teams are created and energized by significant and
  demanding performance challenges.
■ Teams outperform individuals acting alone or in large orga-
  nizational groupings, especially when performance requires
  multiple skills, judgements and experiences.
■ Teams are flexible and responsive to changing events and
  demands. They can adjust their approach to new informa-
  tion and challenges with greater speed, accuracy and effec-
  tiveness than can individuals caught in the web of larger
  organizational connections.
■ Successful teams invest much time and effort exploring,
  shaping and agreeing on a purpose that belongs to them,
  both collectively and individually. They are characterized
  by a deep sense of commitment to achieving high levels of

What are the factors that
contribute to team effectiveness?
An effective team is likely to be one in which its purpose is clear
and its members feel the task is important, both to them and to
the organization. The structure, leadership and methods of
operation are relevant to the requirements of the task. Team
members will be highly engaged in the work they do together
and committed to the whole group task. They will have been
grouped together in a way that means they are related to one
another through the requirements of task performance and task
interdependence. The team will use discretionary effort – going
the extra mile – to ensure that its work gets done.
   The following is a selection of some of the key competencies
for team members as developed by Hay/McBer:

■   interpersonal understanding – accurate interpretation of
    others’ concerns, motives and feelings and recognition of
    their strengths and weaknesses;
                                             Team building ■ 63

■   influence – using appropriate interpersonal styles and
    logical arguments to convince others to accept ideas or
■   customer service orientation – demonstrating concern for
    meeting the needs of internal and external customers;
■   adaptability – adapting easily to change;
■   teamwork and cooperation – developing collaborative
    work which generates acceptable solutions;
■   oral communication – expressing ideas in group situations;
■   achievement orientation – setting and meeting challenging
■   organizational commitment – performing work with
    broader organizational goals in mind.

The main features of well-functioning teams as described by
Douglas McGregor (1960) are that the atmosphere tends to be
informal, comfortable and relaxed; team members listen to
each other; most decisions are reached by consensus; when
action is taken, clear assignments are made and accepted, and
team leaders do not dominate their teams – the issue is not who
controls but how to get the work done.

How should team performance
be assessed?
The performance of teams should be assessed in terms of their
output and results and the quality of team processes that have
contributed to those results.
  Output criteria include the achievement of team goals,
customer satisfaction and the quantity and quality of work.
Process measures comprise participation, collaboration and
collective effort, conflict resolution, joint decision making,
planning and goal setting, interpersonal relations, interdepen-
dence and adaptability and flexibility.
  How you and your team apply these criteria will be related
to the following factors that affect team performance:
64 ■ How to manage people

■   the clarity of the team’s goals in terms of expectations and
■   how work is allocated to the team;
■   how the team is working (its processes) in terms of cohe-
    sion, ability to handle internal conflict and pressure, rela-
    tionships with other teams;
■   the extent to which the team is capable of managing itself –
    setting goals and priorities, monitoring performance;
■   the quality of leadership – even self-managed teams need a
    sense of direction which they cannot necessarily generate by
■   the level and range of skills possessed by individual team
■   the extent to which team members work flexibly, taking
    advantage of the multi-skilling capabilities of its members;
■   the systems and resources support available to the team.

How should team performance
reviews be conducted?
Good support to your team-building efforts will be provided if
you conduct regular team performance review meetings to
assess feedback and control information on their joint achieve-
ments against objectives and to discuss any issues concerning
team work. The agenda for such meetings could be as follows:

1. General feedback review of the progress of the team as a
   whole, problems encountered by the team which have
   caused difficulties or hampered progress, and helps and
   hindrances to the operation of the team.
2. Work reviews of how well the team has functioned.
3. Group problem solving, including an analysis of reasons
   for any shortfalls or other problems and agreement of what
   needs to be done to solve them and prevent their re-occur-
                                                 Team building ■ 65

4. Update objectives – review of new requirements, opportu-
   nities or threats and the amendment of objectives as

Use can be made of the 10-point checklist given in the box.

  Checklist for analysing team
   1.   How effective are we at achieving team goals?
   2.   How well do we work together?
   3.   Does everyone contribute?
   4.   How effectively is the team led?
   5.   How good are we at analysing problems and making
   6.   How good are we at initiating action?
   7.   Do we concentrate sufficiently on the priority issues?
   8.   Do we waste time on irrelevancies?
   9.   To what extent can team members speak their minds
        without being squashed by others?
  10.   If there is any conflict, is it openly expressed and is it
        about issues rather than personalities?

What needs to be done to
achieve good teamwork?
The following are 10 things to do when building your team:

 1. Establish urgency and direction.
 2. Select members based on skills and skill potential who are
    good at working with others but still capable of taking
    their own line when necessary.
 3. Pay particular attention to first meetings and actions.
 4. Agree with team members immediate performance-orien-
    tated tasks and goals, including overlapping or inter-
66 ■ How to manage people

      locking objectives for people who work together. These
      will take the form of targets to be achieved or tasks to be
      accomplished by joint action.
 5.   Assess people’s performance not only on the results they
      achieve but also on the degree to which they are good
      team members. Recognize people who have been good
      team workers.
 6.   Recognize good team performance by praise and rewards
      for the team as a whole.
 7.   Build team spirit by out-of-work activities.
 8.   Hold team meetings to review performance, focusing on
      team process as well as outputs.
 9.   Provide learning and development opportunities so that
      team members can become multi-skilled or at least
      improve the level of their existing skills.
10.   Make use of any learning activities provided by the orga-
      nization that focus on teamwork.


You can’t do everything yourself, so you have to delegate. It is
one of the most important things you do. At first sight delega-
tion looks simple. Just tell people what you want them to do
and then let them get on with it. But there is more to it than
that. It is not easy. It requires courage, patience and skill. And it
is an aspect of your work in which you have more freedom of
choice than in any other of your activities. What you choose to
delegate, to whom and how, is almost entirely at your discre-
   This chapter provides answers to the following questions
about delegation:
■    What is it?
■    What are its advantages?
■    What are the difficulties?
■    When do you delegate?
■    How do you delegate?
■    How can you assess whether you are good at delegating?

What is delegation?
Delegation is not the same as handing out work. There
are some things that your team members do that go with the
territory. They are part of their normal duties and all you have
68 ■ How to manage people

to do is to define what those duties are and allocate work
  Delegation is different. It takes place when you deliberately
give someone the authority to carry out a piece of work which
you could have decided to keep and carry out yourself. Bear in
mind that what you are doing is delegating authority to carry
out a task and make the decisions this involves. You are still
accountable for the results achieved. It is sometimes said that
you cannot delegate responsibility but this is misleading if
responsibility is defined, as it usually is, as what people are
expected to do – their work, their tasks and their duties. What
you cannot do is delegate accountability. In the last analysis,
you as the manager or team leader always carries the can. What
managers have to do is to ensure that people have the authority
to carry out their responsibilities. A traffic warden without the
power to issue tickets would have to be exceedingly persuasive
to have any chance of dealing with parking offences.

What are the advantages of
The advantages of delegation are that it:

■   enables you to focus on the things that really matter in your
    job – those aspects which require your personal experience,
    skill and knowledge;
■   relieves you of less critical and routine tasks;
■   frees you from being immersed in detail;
■   extends your capacity to manage;
■   reduces delay in decision making – as long as authority is
    delegated close to the scene of action;
■   allows decisions to be taken at the level where the details
    are known;
■   empowers and motivates your staff by extending their
    responsibilities and authority and providing them with
    greater autonomy;
                                                 Delegating ■ 69

■   develops the knowledge and skills of your staff and
    increases their capacity to exercise judgement and make

What are the difficulties of
The advantages of delegation are compelling but there are diffi-
culties. The main problem is that delegation often involves risk.
You cannot be absolutely sure that the person to whom you
have delegated something will carry out the work as you would
wish. The temptation therefore is to over-supervise, breathe
down people’s necks and interfere. This inhibits their authority,
makes them nervous and resentful and destroys their confi-
dence, thus dissipating any advantages the original act of dele-
gation might have had. Another difficulty is that many
managers are reluctant to delegate because they want to keep
on top of everything. They really think they know best and
cannot trust any one else to do it as well, never mind better.
Finally, some managers are reluctant to delegate simply because
they enjoy what they are doing and cannot bear the possibility
of giving it away to anyone else.

Approaches to delegation
To a degree, overcoming these difficulties is a matter of simply
being aware of them and appreciating that if there are any
disadvantages, these are outweighed by the advantages. But
approaches to delegation such as those discussed below help.
You need to understand the process of delegation, when to
delegate, what to delegate, how to choose people to whom you
want to delegate, how to give out the work and how to monitor
70 ■ How to manage people

The process of delegation
Delegation is a process which starts from the point when total
control is exercised (no freedom of action for the individual to
whom work has been allocated) to full devolution (the indi-
vidual is completely empowered to carry out the work). This
sequence is illustrated in Figure 6.1.

           Degree of control exercised by manager

                             Degree of freedom devolved to individual

      Manager          Manager        Manager        Manager         Manager
      allocates         gives           briefs         gives        empowes
      task but         specific      individual       general       individual
     exercises       instructions   and checks     directions to    to control
    total control    and checks       regularly   individual and       own
                      constantly                      asks for     performance
                                                   feedback at
                                                    the latter’s

Figure 6.1          The sequence of delegation

When to delegate
You should delegate when you:
■     have more work than you can carry out yourself;
■     cannot allow sufficient time to your priority tasks;
■     want to develop a member of your team;
■     believe that it will increase someone’s engagement with
      their job;
                                                   Delegating ■ 71

■   think that the job can be done adequately by the individual
    or the team to whom you delegate.

What to delegate
The tasks you delegate are ones that you don’t need to do your-
self. You are not just ridding yourself of the difficult, tedious or
unrewarding tasks. Neither are you trying simply to win for
yourself an easier life. In some ways delegation will make your
life more difficult, but also more rewarding.
   You delegate routine and repetitive tasks which you cannot
reasonably be expected to do yourself – as long as you use the
time you have won productively.
   You can delegate specialist tasks to those who have the skills
and know-how to do them. You cannot be expected to do it all
yourself. Neither can you be expected to know it all yourself.
You have to know how to select and use expertise. There will
be no problem as long as you make it clear what you want from
the experts and get them to present it to you in a useable way.
As their manager you should know what your specialists can
do for you and you should be knowledgeable enough about the
subject to understand whether or not what they produce is
worth having.
   You delegate to a team when you ask people collectively to
carry out a task which you previously did yourself and which
you are confident they can do.

Choosing who does the work
When delegating to individuals the person you choose to do the
work should ideally have the knowledge, skills, experience,
motivation and time needed to get it done to your satisfaction.
It is your job as a manager or team leader to know your people
– their strengths and weaknesses, what they are good at or not
so good at, those who are willing to learn and those who,
without good cause, think that they know it all.
72 ■ How to manage people

   Frequently you will want to delegate work to an individual
who has less than the ideal experience, knowledge or skills. In
these cases you should try to select someone who has intelli-
gence, natural aptitude and, above all, willingness to learn how
to do the job with help and guidance. This is how people
develop, and the development of your team members should be
your conscious aim whenever you delegate.
   You are looking for someone you can trust. You don’t want
to over-supervise, so you have to believe that the person you
select will get on with it and have the sense to come to
you when stuck or before making a bad mistake. Of course you
have to make it clear that you are there to give support and
guidance when necessary, especially when a person is starting
on an unfamiliar task. Initially, you may have to spend time
coaching the individual to develop new or improved skills.
   How do you know whom you can trust? The best way is to
try people out first on smaller and less important tasks and give
them more scope when they demonstrate they can do them.
You may start by supervising them fairly closely but you can
progressively let go until they are finally working mainly on
their own with only periodic checks on progress. If they get on
well, their sense of responsibility and powers of judgement will
increase and improve and they will acquire the additional skills
and confidence to justify your trust in their capacity to take on
more demanding and responsible tasks.

Giving out the work
When you delegate you should ensure that the individuals or
team concerned understand:

■   why the work needs to be done;
■   what they are expected to do;
■   the date by which they are expected to do it;
■   the end-results they are expected to achieve;
■   the authority they have to make decisions;
■   the problems they must refer back;
                                                 Delegating ■ 73

■   the progress or completion reports they should submit;
■   any guidance and support that will be available to them.

You have to consider how much guidance will be required on
how the work should be done. You don’t want to give direc-
tions in such laborious detail that you run the risk of stifling
initiative. Neither do you want to infuriate people by
explaining everything needlessly. As long as you are reasonably
certain that they will do the job to your satisfaction without
embarrassing you or seriously upsetting people, exceeding the
budget or breaking the law, let them get on with it. Follow
Robert Heller’s golden rule: ‘If you can’t do something yourself,
find someone who can and then let them get on with it in their
own sweet way.’
   You can make a distinction between hard and soft delega-
tion. Hard delegation takes place when you tell someone
exactly what to do and how to do it. You spell it out, confirm it
in writing and make a note in your diary of the date when you
expect the job to be completed. And then you follow up regu-
   Soft delegation takes place when you agree generally what
has to be done and leave the individual to get on with it. You
still agree limits of authority, define the outcomes you expect,
indicate how you will review progress and lay down when
exception reports should be made. An exception report is one
that deals only with events out of the ordinary. It is based on
the principle of management by exception, which means
focusing on the key events and measures which will show up
good, bad or indifferent results – the exceptions to the norm –
as a guide to taking action. This approach frees people to
concentrate on the issues that matter.
   You should always delegate by the results you expect. When
you are dealing with an experienced and capable person you
don’t need to specify how the results should be achieved. In the
case of less experienced people you have to exercise judgement
on the amount of guidance required. Newcomers with little or
no experience will need plenty of guidance. They are on a
74 ■ How to manage people

‘learning curve’, ie they are gradually acquiring the knowledge
and skills they need to reach the required level of performance.
You are responsible for seeing that they progress steadily up the
learning curve, bearing in mind that everyone will be starting
from a different point and learning at a different rate. It is
during this period that you act as a coach or an instructor, help-
ing people to learn and develop (see also Chapter 9). Even if
you do not need to specify how the results should be achieved,
it is a good idea when the delegation involves getting someone
to solve a problem to ask them how they propose to solve it.

Monitoring performance
Delegation is not abdication. You are still accountable for the
results obtained by the members of your team collectively and
individually. The extent to which you need to monitor perfor-
mance and how you do so depends on the individuals
concerned and the nature of the task. If individuals or the team
as a whole are inexperienced generally or are being specifically
asked to undertake an unfamiliar task you may at first have to
monitor performance carefully. But the sooner you can relax
and watch progress informally the better. The ideal situation is
when you are confident that the individual or team will deliver
the results you want with the minimum of supervision. In such
cases you may ask for only periodic exception reports.
   For a specific task or project set target dates and keep a
reminder of these in your diary so that you can check that they
have been met. Don’t allow people to become careless about
meeting deadlines.
   Without becoming oppressive, you should ensure that
progress and exception reports are made when required so that
you can agree any necessary corrective action. You should have
indicated the extent to which people have the authority to act
without reference to you. They must therefore expect to be crit-
icized if they exceed their brief or fail to keep you informed.
You don’t want any surprises and your people must understand
that keeping you in the dark is unacceptable.
                                                  Delegating ■ 75

   Try to restrain yourself from interfering unnecessarily in the
way the work is being done. After all, it is the results that
count. Of course, you must step in if there is any danger of
things going off the rails. Rash decisions, over-expenditure and
ignoring defined and reasonable constraints must be prevented.
   There is a delicate balance to be achieved between hedging
people around with restrictions, which may appear petty, and
allowing them licence to do what they like. There are no
absolute rules as to where this balance should be struck.
Managing people is an art not a science. But you should at least
have some notion of what is appropriate based on your knowl-
edge of the people concerned and the situation you are in. It’s a
judgement call but a judgement based on an understanding of
the facts. The best delegators are those who have a comprehen-
sive knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of their team
members and of the circumstances in which they work.
   Above all, avoid ‘river banking’. This happens when a boss
gives a subordinate a task which is more or less impossible to
do. As the subordinate is going down for the third time the boss
can be observed in a remote and safe position on the river
bank, saying: ‘It’s easy really, all you need to do is to try a bit

How good a delegator are you?
Check how good you are at delegating by selecting the appro-
priate response to the statements given in Table 6.1. Use
the outcome as a basis for taking any actions you think
would reduce the problem and improve your approach to
                                                                 Frequency of behaviour
                 Behaviour as a delegator                                                    Any action required
                                                              Often   Occasionally   Never
 1   Do you have to take work home at night?
 2   Do you work longer hours than those you manage?
 3   Are you frequently interrupted because people come to
     you with questions or for advice or decisions?
 4   Do you spend part of your working time doing things
     for others which they could do for themselves?
 5   Do you feel that you have to keep a close watch on
     details if someone is to do a job right?
 6   Do you get involved in details because you enjoy them,
     although someone else could do them well enough?
 7   Do you lack confidence in the abilities of your team
     members so that you are afraid to risk them taking on
     more responsibility?
 8   Do you ask your people for ideas about problems that
     arise in their work?
 9   Do you systematically analyse and assess the abilities
     of your people in order to plan delegation?
10   Do you take care to provide guidance and coaching to
     less experienced people so that you will be confident
     that you can delegate more to them?

Table 6.1      How good are you at delegating?


As a manager one of your most important people management
tasks will be to interview candidates for a position on your
team. Even when an HR (human resources) department or a
recruitment agency is involved the final decision is yours or at
least shared between you and your boss. The problem is that
many managers think that they are good at selecting people but
aren’t. This is often revealed by an analysis of leavers which
shows that a large proportion leave in the first six months,
about one in five according to a recent national survey.
Interviewing is a skilled process and the aim of this chapter is to
help you develop the skills required by first defining the nature
of a selection interview and its content and then providing
guidance on preparing for and planning the interview, inter-
viewing techniques and assessing the data.

The nature of a selection
A selection interview should provide you with the answers to
three fundamental questions:
78 ■ How to manage people

1. Can the individual do the job? Is the person capable of
   doing the work to the standard required?
2. Will the individual do the job? Is the person well moti-
3. How is the individual likely to fit into the team? Will I be
   able to work well with this person?

It should take the form of a conversation with a purpose. It is a
conversation because candidates should be given the opportu-
nity to talk freely about themselves and their careers. But the
conversation has to be planned, directed and controlled to
achieve your aims in the time available.
   Your task as an interviewer is to draw candidates out to
ensure that you get the information you want. Candidates
should be encouraged to do most of the talking – one of the
besetting sins of poor interviewers is that they talk too much.
But you have to plan the structure of the interview to achieve
its purpose and decide in advance the questions you need to ask
– questions which will give you what you need to make an
accurate assessment.
   Overall, an effective approach to interviewing can be
summed up as the three Cs:

■ content – the information you want and the questions you
  ask to get it;
■ contact – your ability to make and maintain good contact
  with candidates; to establish the sort of rapport that will
  encourage them to talk freely, thus revealing their strengths
  and their weaknesses;
■ control – your ability to control the interview so that you
  get the information you want.

All this requires you to plan the interview thoroughly in terms
of content, timing, structure and use of questions.
                                        Selection interviewing ■ 79

The content of an interview
The content of an interview can be analysed into three sections;
its beginning, middle and end.

At the start of the interview you should put candidates at their
ease. You want them to talk freely in response to your ques-
tions. They won’t do this if you plunge in too abruptly. At least
welcome them and thank them for coming to the interview,
expressing genuine pleasure about the meeting. But don’t waste
too much time talking about their journey or the weather.
   Some interviewers start by describing the company and the
job. Wherever possible it is best to eliminate this part of the
interview by sending candidates a brief job description and
something about the organization.
   If you are not careful you will spend far too much time at this
stage, especially if the candidate later turns out to be clearly
unsuitable. A brief reference to the job should suffice and this
can be extended at the end of the interview.

The middle part of the interview is where you find out what
you need to know about candidates. It should take at least 80
per cent of the time, leaving, say, 5 per cent at the beginning
and 15 per cent at the end.
   This is when you ask questions designed to provide informa-
tion on: the extent to which the knowledge, skills, capabilities
and personal qualities of candidates meet the person specifica-
tion; and the career history and ambitions of candidates and,
sometimes, on certain aspects of their behaviour at work such
as sickness and absenteeism.
80 ■ How to manage people

At the end of the interview you should give candidates the
opportunity to ask about the job and the company. How they
do this can often give you clues about the degree to which
applicants are interested and their ability to ask pertinent ques-
   You may want to expand a little on the job. If candidates are
promising, some interviewers at this stage extol the attractive
features of the job. This is fine as long as these are not exagger-
ated. To give a ‘realistic preview’, the possible downsides
should be mentioned, for example the need to travel or unsocial
working hours. If candidates are clearly unsuitable you can
tactfully help them to de-select themselves by referring to
aspects of the work which may not appeal to them, or for
which they are not really qualified. It is best not to spell out
these points too strongly. It is often sufficient simply to put the
question: ‘This is a key requirement of the job, how do you feel
about it?’ You can follow up this general question by more
specific questions: ‘Do you feel you have the right sort of expe-
rience?’ ‘Are you happy about (this aspect of the job)?’
   At this stage you should ask final questions about the avail-
ability of candidates, as long as they are promising. You can
ask when they would be able to start and about any holiday
arrangements to which they are committed.
   You should also ask their permission to obtain references
from their present and previous employers. They might not
want you to approach their present employer and in this case
you should tell them that if they are made an offer of employ-
ment it would be conditional on a satisfactory reference from
their employer. It is useful to ensure that you have the names of
people you can approach.
   Finally, you inform candidates of what happens next. If some
time could elapse before they hear from you, they should be
told that you will be writing as soon as possible but that there
will be some delay (don’t make a promise you will be unable to
   It is not normally good practice to inform candidates of your
                                         Selection interviewing ■ 81

decision at the end of the interview. You should take time to
reflect on their suitability and you don’t want to give them the
impression that you are making a snap judgement.

Preparing for the interview
Initial preparations
Your first step in preparing for an interview should be to famil-
iarize or re-familiarize yourself with the person specification,
which defines the sort of individual you want in terms of qual-
ifications, experience and personality. It is also advisable at this
stage to prepare questions which you can put to all candidates
to obtain the information you require. If you ask everyone
some identical questions you will be able to compare the
   You should then read the candidates’ CVs and application
forms or letters. This will identify any special questions you
should ask about their career or to fill in the gaps – ‘what does
this gap between jobs C and D signify?’ (although you would
not put the question as baldly as that; it would be better to say
something like this: ‘I see there was a gap of six months
between when you left your job in C and started in D. Would
you mind telling me what you were doing during this time?’).

You should decide at this stage how long you want to spend on
each interview. As a rule of thumb, 45 to 60 minutes are usually
required for senior professional or technical appointments.
Middle ranking jobs need about 30 to 45 minutes. The more
routine jobs can be covered in 20 to 30 minutes. But the time
allowed depends on the job and you do not want to insult a
candidate by conducting a superficial interview.
82 ■ How to manage people

Planning the interview
When planning interviews you should give some thought to
how you are going to sequence your questions, especially in the
middle part. There are two basic approaches as described

Biographical approach
The biographical approach is probably the most popular
because it is simple to use and appears to be logical. The inter-
view can be sequenced chronologically, starting with the first
job or even before that at school and, if appropriate, college or
university. The succeeding jobs, if any, are then dealt with in
turn, ending with the present job on which most time is spent if
the candidate has been in it for a reasonable time. If you are not
careful, however, using the chronological method for someone
who has had a number of jobs can mean spending too much
time on the earlier jobs, leaving insufficient time for the most
important recent experiences.
   To overcome this problem, an alternative biographical
approach is to start with the present job, which is discussed in
some depth. The interviewer then works backwards, job by
job, but concentrating only on particularly interesting or rele-
vant experience in earlier jobs.
   The problem with the biographical approach is that it is
predictable. Experienced candidates are familiar with it and
have their story ready, glossing over any weak points. It can
also be unreliable. You can easily miss an important piece of
information by concentrating on a succession of jobs rather
than focusing on key aspects of the candidates’ experience
which illustrate their capabilities.

Criteria-based or targeted approach
This approach is based on an analysis of the person specifica-
tion. You can then select the criteria on which you will judge
                                         Selection interviewing ■ 83

the suitability of the candidate, which will put you in a position
to ‘target’ these key criteria during the interview. You can
decide on the questions you need to ask to draw out from
candidates information about their knowledge, skills, capabili-
ties and personal qualities which can be compared with the
criteria to assess the extent to which candidates meet the speci-
fication. This is probably the best way of focusing your inter-
view to ensure that you get all the information you require
about candidates for comparison with the person specification.

Interviewing techniques
The most important interviewing technique you need to
acquire and practise is questioning. Asking pertinent questions
which elicit informative responses is a skill that people do not
necessarily possess, but it is one they can develop. To improve
your questioning techniques it is a good idea at the end of an
interview to ask yourself: ‘Did I ask the right questions?’, ‘Did I
put them to the candidate well?’, ‘Did I get candidates to
respond freely?’
   There are a number of different types of questions as
described below. By choosing the right ones you can get candi-
dates to open up or you can pin them down to giving you
specific information or to extending or clarifying a reply. The
other skills you should possess are establishing rapport,
listening, maintaining continuity, keeping contact and note-
taking. These are considered later in this section of the chapter.
   The main types of questions are described below.

Open questions
Open questions are the best ones to use to get candidates to
talk – to draw them out. These are questions which cannot be
answered by a yes or no and which encourage a full response.
Single-word answers are seldom illuminating. It is a good idea
84 ■ How to manage people

to begin the interview with one or two open questions, thus
helping candidates to settle in.
  Open-ended questions or phrases inviting a response can be
phrased as follows:

■ I’d like you to tell me about the sort of work you are doing
  in your present job.
■ What do you know about…?
■ Could you give me some examples of…?
■ In what ways do you think your experience fits you to do
  the job for which you have applied?

Probing questions
Probing questions are used to get further details or to ensure
that you are getting all the facts. You ask them when answers
have been too generalized or when you suspect that there may
be some more relevant information which candidates have not
disclosed. A candidate may claim to have done something and
it may be useful to find out more about exactly what contribu-
tion was made. Poor interviewers tend to let general and unin-
formative answers pass by without probing for further details,
simply because they are sticking rigidly to a predetermined list
of open questions. Skilled interviewers are able to flex their
approach to ensure they get the facts while still keeping control
to ensure that the interview is completed on time.
   The following are some other examples of probing questions:

■ You’ve informed me that you have had experience in….
  Could you tell me more about what you did?
■ Could you describe in more detail the equipment you use?
■ What training have you had to operate your machine/
■ Why do you think that happened?

Closed questions
Closed questions aim to clarify a point of fact. The expected
reply will be an explicit single word or brief sentence. In a
                                       Selection interviewing ■ 85

sense, a closed question acts as a probe but produces a succinct
factual statement without going into detail. When you ask a
closed question you intend to find out:

■   what the candidate has or has not done – ‘What did you do
■   why something took place – ‘Why did that happen?’
■   when something took place – ‘When did that happen?’
■   how something happened – ‘How did that situation arise?’
■   where something happened – ‘Where were you at the time?’
■   who took part – ‘Who else was involved?’

Capability questions
Capability questions aim to establish what candidates know,
the skills they possess and use, and what they are capable of
doing. They can be open, probing or closed but they will
always be focused as precisely as possible on the contents of the
person specification referring to knowledge, skills and capabil-
   The sort of capability questions you can ask are:

■   What do you know about…?
■   How did you gain this knowledge?
■   What are the key skills you are expected to use in your
■   How would your present employer rate the level of skill
    you have reached in…?
■   What do you use these skills to do?
■   How often do you use these skills?
■   What training have you received to develop these skills?
■   Could you please tell me exactly what sort and how much
    experience you have had in…?
■   Could you tell me more about what you have actually been
    doing in this aspect of your work?
■   Can you give me any examples of the sort of work you have
    done which would qualify you to do this job?
■   Could you tell me more about the machinery, equipment,
    processes or systems which you operate/for which you are
86 ■ How to manage people

  responsible? (The information could refer to such aspects as
  output or throughput, tolerances, use of computers or soft-
  ware, technical problems.)
■ What are the most typical problems you have to deal with?
■ Would you tell me about any instances when you have had
  to deal with an unexpected problem or a crisis?

Unhelpful questions
There are two types of questions that are unhelpful:

■ Multiple questions such as ‘What skills do you use most
  frequently in your job? Are they technical skills, leadership
  skills, teamworking skills or communicating skills?’ will
  only confuse candidates. You will probably get a partial or
  misleading reply. Ask only one question at a time.
■ Leading questions which indicate the reply you expect are
  also unhelpful. If you ask a question such as: ‘That’s what
  you think, isn’t it?’ you will get the reply: ‘Yes, I do.’ If you
  ask a question such as: ‘I take it that you don’t really
  believe that…?’ you will get the reply: ‘No, I don’t.’ Neither
  of these replies will get you anywhere.

Questions to be avoided
Avoid any questions that could be construed as being biased on
the grounds of sex, race, age or disability.

Ten useful questions
The following are 10 useful questions from which you can
select any that are particularly relevant in an interview you are

 1. What are the most important aspects of your present
 2. What do you think have been your most notable achieve-
    ments in your career to date?
 3. What sort of problems have you successfully solved
    recently in your job?
                                       Selection interviewing ■ 87

 4. What have you learnt from your present job?
 5. What has been your experience in…?
 6. What do you know about…?
 7. What is your approach to handling…?
 8. What particularly interests you in this job and why?
 9. Now you have heard more about the job, would you
    please tell me which aspects of your experience are most
10. Is there anything else about your career which hasn’t come
    out yet in this interview but you think I ought to hear?

Assessing the data
If you have carried out a good interview you should have the
data to assess the extent to which candidates meet each of the
key points in the person specification. You can summarize your
assessments by marking candidates against each of the points –
‘exceeds specification’, ‘fully meets specification’, ‘just meets
the minimum specification’, ‘does not meet the minimum spec-
   You can assess motivation broadly as ‘highly motivated,
‘reasonably well motivated’, ‘not very well motivated’.
   You should also draw some conclusions from the candidate’s
career history and the other information you have gained about
their behaviour at work. Credit should be given for a career
that has progressed steadily, even if there have been several job
changes. But a lot of job hopping for no good reason and
without making progress can lead you to suspect that a candi-
date is not particularly stable.
   No blame should be attached to a single setback – it can
happen to anyone. But if the pattern is repeated you can
reasonably be suspicious. Redundancy is not a stigma – it is
happening all the time.
   Finally, there is the delicate question of whether you think
you will be able to work with the candidate, and whether you
think he or she will fit into the team. You have to be very
88 ■ How to manage people

careful about making judgements about how you will get on
with someone. But if you are absolutely certain that the chem-
istry will not work, then you have to take account of that
feeling, as long as you ensure that you have reasonable grounds
for it on the basis of the behaviour of the candidate at the inter-
view. But be aware of the common mistakes that interviewers
can make. These include:

■   jumping to conclusions on a single piece of favourable
    evidence – the ‘halo effect’;
■   jumping to conclusions on a single piece of unfavourable
    evidence – the ‘horns effect’;
■   not weighing up the balance between the favourable and
    unfavourable evidence logically and objectively;
■   coming to firm conclusions on inadequate evidence;
■   making snap or hurried judgements;
■   making prejudiced judgements on the grounds of sex, race,
    age, disability, religion, appearance, accent, class or any
    aspect of the candidate’s life history, circumstances or
    career which do not fit your preconceptions of what you
    are looking for.

Coming to a conclusion
Compare your assessment of each of the candidates against one
another. If any candidate fails in an area which is critical to
success he or she should be rejected. You can’t take a chance.
Your choice should be made between the candidates who reach
an acceptable standard against each of the criteria. You can
then come to an overall judgement by reference to their assess-
ments under each heading and their career history as to which
one is most likely to succeed.
   In the end, your decision between qualified candidates may
well be judgemental. There may be one outstanding candidate
but quite often there are two or three. In these circumstances
you have to come to a balanced view on which one is more
likely to fit the job and the organization and have potential for
                                         Selection interviewing ■ 89

a long-term career, if this is possible. Don’t, however, settle for
second best in desperation. It is better to try again.
   Remember to make and keep notes of the reasons for your
choice and why candidates have been rejected. These, together
with the applications, should be kept for at least six months
just in case your decision is challenged as being discriminatory.


One of your most important, if not the most important, respon-
sibilities as a manager is to ensure that the members of your
team achieve high levels of performance. You have to ensure
that they understand what you expect from them, that you and
they work together to review performance against those expec-
tations and that you jointly agree what needs to be done to
develop knowledge and skills and, where necessary, improve
   Your organization may well have a performance manage-
ment system which provides guidance on how this should be
done but ultimately it is up to the manager. You are the person
on the spot. Performance management systems only work if
managers want them to work and are capable of making them
work. You have to believe that your time is well spent in the
process of managing performance as described in the first part
of this chapter. You need to know about performance planning
(agreeing what has to be done), managing performance
throughout the year and conducting formal performance
reviews as covered in the next three parts. You should have no
problems in appreciating the importance of the first two activi-
ties. It is the third activity – performance reviews – that
managers often find hard to accept as necessary and even more
difficult to do well.
                                       Managing performance ■ 91

The process of managing
The process of managing performance is based on two simple
propositions. First, people are most likely to perform well when
they know and understand what is expected of them and have
taken part in defining these expectations. In other words, if you
know where you are going you are more likely to get there.
Second, the ability to meet these expectations depends on the
levels of knowledge, skill, competency and motivation of indi-
viduals and the leadership and support they receive from their
   The process takes the form of a continuous cycle as shown in
Figure 8.1. This is, in fact, the normal cycle of management.
Performance management is a natural process – it is not an
appraisal system imposed on line managers by the HR func-
   As a natural process of management, performance manage-
ment involves:


         Review                                   Act

                             Monitor   ▲

Figure 8.1   The performance management cycle
92 ■ How to manage people

1. Planning – reaching agreement on objectives and standards
   to be achieved and the level of competence to be attained;
   discussing and agreeing performance improvement and
   personal development plans.
2. Action – taking action to implement plans and to achieve
   the required standards of day-to-day work. This action is
   carried out by individuals with the guidance and support of
   their managers.
3. Monitoring – actions and outcomes are monitored continu-
   ously by individuals and, as necessary, by their manager
   (the more this can be left to individuals so that they are in
   effect managing their own performance, the better).
4. Reviews – these can take place at any appropriate time
   during the year. Performance management is an all-year
   process, not an annual event. The reviews can be quite
   informal, with feedback from the manager or, preferably,
   generated by the individual from feedback information
   available directly to him or her. A more formal review
   should take place periodically, say once or twice a year.

Performance planning
Managing performance is about getting people into action so
that they achieve planned and agreed results. It focuses on what
has to be done, how it should be done and what is to be
achieved. But it is equally concerned with developing people –
helping them to learn – and providing them with the support
they need to do well, now and in the future. The framework for
performance management is provided by the performance
agreement, which is the outcome of performance planning. The
agreement provides the basis for managing performance
throughout the year and for guiding improvement and develop-
ment activities. It is used as a reference point when reviewing
performance and the achievement of improvement and devel-
opment plans.
  You should carry out performance planning jointly with the
                                       Managing performance ■ 93

individual in order to reach agreement on what needs to be
done. The starting point is the role profile which defines the
results, knowledge and skills and behaviours required. This
provides the basis for agreeing objectives as described below.

What are objectives?
Objectives describe something that has to be accomplished.
Objectives or goals (the terms are interchangeable) define what
organizations, functions, departments and individuals are
expected to achieve over a period of time. Objective setting,
which results in an agreement on what the role holder has to
achieve, is an important part of the performance management
processes of defining and managing expectations and forms the
point of reference for performance reviews.

Types of objectives
The different types of objectives are described below.

Ongoing role or work objectives
All roles have built-in objectives which may be expressed as key
result areas in a role profile. The definition of a key result area
states that this is what the role holder is expected to achieve in
this particular aspect of the role. For example: ‘Identify data-
base requirements for all projects that require data manage-
ment in order to meet the needs of internal customers’ or ‘Deal
quickly with customer queries in order to create and maintain
high levels of satisfaction’.

Targets are objectives which define the quantifiable results to
be attained as measured in such terms as output, through-
put, income, sales, levels of service delivery, cost reduction,
reduction of reject rates. Thus a customer service target could
be to respond to 90 per cent of queries within two working
94 ■ How to manage people

Objectives can be set for the completion of tasks or projects by
a specified date or to achieve an interim result. A target for a
database administrator could be to develop a new database to
meet the needs of the HR department by the end of the year.

Behavioural expectations are often set out generally in compe-
tency frameworks which list and define the competencies which
will be assessed in performance management or used for
recruitment, learning and development purposes. A typical
competency framework refers to the following behaviours:
■   the ability to work cooperatively and flexibly with other
    members of the team, with a full understanding of the role
    to be played as a team member;
■   the ability to communicate clearly and persuasively, orally
    or in writing;
■   the ability to manage and develop people and gain their
    trust and cooperation to achieve results;
■   the exercise of unceasing care in looking after the interests
    of external and internal customers to ensure that their
    wants, needs and expectations are met or exceeded;
■   the desire to get things done well and the ability to set and
    meet challenging goals, create own measures of excellence
    and constantly seek ways of improving performance;
■   the capacity to analyse situations, diagnose problems, iden-
    tify the key issues, establish and evaluate alternative courses
    of action and produce a logical, practical and acceptable
■   the ability to decide on courses of action, ensuring that the
    resources required to implement the action will be available
    and scheduling the programme of work required to achieve
    a defined end-result.

Performance improvement
Performance improvement objectives define what needs to be
done to achieve better results. They may be expressed in a
                                        Managing performance ■ 95

performance improvement plan which specifies what actions
need to be taken by role holders and their managers.

Learning and development
Learning and development objectives specify areas for personal
development and learning in the shape of enhanced knowledge
and skills. They may be recorded in a personal development
plan or a learning contract as described in Chapter 9.

What is a good objective?
Many organizations state that a good objective should be
‘SMART’ in the sense of having the following characteristics:

S = Specific/stretching – clear, unambiguous, straightforward,
    understandable and challenging;
M =Measurable – quantity, quality, time, money;
A = Achievable – challenging but within the reach of a compe-
    tent and committed person;
R = Relevant – relevant to the objectives of the organization so
    that the goal of the individual is aligned to corporate goals;
T = Time framed – to be completed within an agreed time-

A checklist for setting SMART objectives is given below.

  Objective-setting checklist
   1. Has the objective-setting process been based on an
      agreed and up-to-date role profile which sets out key result
   2. Has objective setting been carried out jointly between the
      manager and the individual?
   3. Are standards and targets clearly related to the key result
      areas in the role profile?
   4. Do objectives support the achievement of team and corpo-
      rate objectives?
96 ■ How to manage people

     5.   Are the objectives specific?
     6.   Are they challenging?
     7.   Are they realistic and attainable?
     8.   Has a time limit for their achievement been agreed?
     9.   How will the achievement of objectives be measured?
    10.   Have any problems in attaining your objectives been iden-
          tified and has action to overcome these problems been

The continuing process of
managing performance
You should treat your responsibility for managing performance
as an integral part of the continuing process of management.
This is based on a philosophy which emphasizes:

■ the achievement of sustained improvements in perfor-
■ the continuous development of skills and capabilities;
■ that the organization is a ‘learning organization’ in the
  sense that it is constantly developing and applying the
  learning gained from experience and the analysis of the
  factors that have produced high levels of performance.

You should therefore be ready, willing and able to monitor
performance and define and meet development and improve-
ment needs as they arise. As far as practicable, learning and
work should be integrated. This means that encouragement
should be given to your team members to learn from the
successes, challenges and problems inherent in their day-to-day
  You should carry out the process of monitoring performance
by reference to agreed objectives and to work, development
and improvement plans. You may need only a light touch in
                                       Managing performance ■ 97

monitoring performance if you are confident that an individual
will deliver. In some cases you may have to monitor more
closely. You have to decide how tightly you monitor on the
basis of your understanding of the capacity of individuals to do
the work. This is part of the delegation process as explained in
Chapter 6.

Formal review meetings
Formal review meetings are a vital part of the process of
managing performance. They provide you with the opportunity
to give feedback, to sound out from individuals how they feel
about their job and to plan for improvements in performance
or activities to meet the learning and development needs identi-
fied during the review. The feedback will summarize and draw
conclusions from what has been happening since the last review
but it will be based on events and observations rather than
opinion. These should have been raised at the time – there
should not be any surprises during the formal discussion.
   A review should take the form of a dialogue in which the two
parties exchange comments and ideas and develop agreed
plans. The conversation – and that is what it should be – should
concentrate on analysis and review of the significant points
emerging from the period under consideration. The review
should be rooted in the reality of what the individual has been
doing. It is concrete not abstract. It will recognize successes and
identify things that have not gone according to plan in order to
learn lessons for the future. It should be a joint affair – both
parties are involved. So there may well be an element of self-
assessment by the individuals.
   A performance review meeting provides an ideal opportunity
for discussing work issues away from the hurly burly of
everyday working life. It can motivate people by providing a
means of recognizing good performance. It can help to indicate
areas in which performance needs to improve and how this
should be done. And, importantly, it can help to identify
98 ■ How to manage people

learning and development needs and the means of satisfying
   To bring the process to life, here are some of the comments
made on performance reviews by team leaders in a large call
■   ‘It gives you a structure for where you’re going. You agree
    where you need to pick up on. It’s a two-way discussion.
    And you’re responsible for setting these objectives with
    your line manager. You’re not just told what to do. And
    you go through and decide on which objectives you want to
    concentrate on in the next six months. It gives you a sense
    of responsibility for your own future.’
■   ‘I think you get quality time with your manager. And it’s
    very difficult to get that time in the working environment.’
■   ‘The majority of my staff like the performance review. They
    like to know how they are doing and where they are going
    in the future. The ones who don’t like it are those who want
    to do the minimum of what they can get away with.’
■   ‘People like feedback. They like to know how they are
    doing. They like to discuss their development. Even if they
    are not performing up to standard, they want to know how
    they can progress.’
■   ‘If you have a member of staff who is not doing so well and
    you sit down to talk about it, at first they say: “Well, I don’t
    know about that.” But when you give them particular
    instances and you talk it through, at the end of it they do
    say: “Well yes, you’re right, I did do that.” It makes them
    reflect positively on the negative aspects as well.’
■   ‘What my staff get out of it is communication. Someone is
    interested in what they are saying, just for once!’

Preparing for the meeting
You should initiate a formal review meeting by letting the indi-
vidual know some time in advance (a week or so) when it is
going to take place. Allow one or two uninterrupted hours for
the meeting. The individual should be told the purpose of the
                                     Managing performance ■ 99

meeting and the points to be covered. The aim should be, as far
as possible, to emphasize the positive nature of the process and
to dispel any feelings of trepidation.
  The individual can then be asked to prepare for the meeting
by assessing the level of performance achieved and identifying
any work issues.
  You should work your way through the following checklist
of questions:
 1. How well has the individual done in achieving agreed
    objectives during the review period?
 2. How well have any improvement, development or
    training plans as agreed at the last review meeting been
    put into effect?
 3. What should be the individual’s objectives for the next
    review period?
 4. Are you satisfied that you have given the individual suffi-
    cient guidance or help on what he/she is expected to do? If
    not, what extra help/guidance could you provide?
 5. Is the best use being made of the individual’s skills and
 6. Is the individual ready to take on additional responsibili-
 7. Would the individual benefit from further experience?
 8. Are there any special projects the individual could take
    part in which would help with his/her development?
 9. What direction do you think the individual’s career could
    take within the organization?
10. Does the individual need any further training?

Conducting a performance
review meeting
In a sense a performance review is a stocktaking process
answering the questions ‘where have we got to?’ and ‘how did
we get here?’ But there is much more to it than that. It is not
just an historical exercise, dwelling on the past and taking the
100 ■ How to manage people

form of a post mortem. The true purpose of the review is to
look forward to what needs to be done by people to achieve the
overall purpose of their jobs, to meet new challenges, to make
even better use of their skills, knowledge and abilities and to
develop their skills and competencies to further their career and
increase their employability, within and outside the organiza-
   A constructive review meeting is most likely to take place if

■   encourage individuals to do most of the talking – the aim
    should be to conduct the meeting as a dialogue rather than
    using it to make ‘top down’ pronouncements on what you
    think about them;
■   listen actively to what they say;
■   allow scope for reflection and analysis;
■   analyse performance not personality – concentrate on what
    individuals have done, not the sort of people they are;
■   keep the whole period under review, not concentrating on
    isolated or recent events;
■   adopt a ‘no surprises’ approach – performance problems
    should have been identified and dealt with at the time they
■   recognize achievements and reinforce strengths;
■   discuss any work problems, how they have arisen and what
    can be done about them;
■   end the meeting positively with any necessary agreed action
    plans (learning and development and performance

Performance review skills
The main skills you need in conducting performance reviews
are asking the right questions, listening actively, providing feed-
back and dealing with any issues.
                                    Managing performance ■ 101

Asking the right questions
Only one question should be asked at a time and, if necessary,
unclear responses should be played back to check under-
standing. The two main approaches are to use open and probe
   Open questions are general not specific. They provide room
for people to decide how they should be answered and
encourage them to talk freely. They set the scene for the more
detailed analysis of performance that will follow later and can
be introduced at any point to open up a discussion on a new
topic. Open questions help to create an atmosphere of calm and
friendly enquiry and can be expressed quite informally, for

■   How do you think things have been going?
■   What do you feel about that?
■   How can we build on that in the future?
■   What can we learn from that?

Open questions can be put in a ‘tell me’ form such as:

■   ‘Tell me, why do you think that happened?’
■   ‘Tell me, how did you handle that situation?’
■   ‘Tell me, how is this project going?’
■   ‘Tell me, what do you think your key objectives are going
    to be next year?’

Probe questions seek specific information on what has
happened and why. They can:

■ show interest and encouragement by making supportive
  statements followed by questions: ‘I see, and then what?’
■ seek further information by asking ‘Why?’ or ‘Why not?’ or
  ‘What do you mean?’
■ explore attitudes: ‘To what extent do you believe that…?’
■ reflect views: ‘Have I got the right impression, do you feel
102 ■ How to manage people

In a review meeting it is necessary to listen carefully. Good

■ concentrate on the speaker; they are alert at all times to the
  nuances of what is being said;
■ respond quickly when appropriate but do not interrupt
■ ask questions to clarify meaning;
■ comment as necessary on the points made to demonstrate
  understanding but not at length.

Providing feedback
So far as possible, feedback on how well individuals are doing
should be built into their jobs – they should have access to all
the information they need to measure their own performance.
But you also need to provide feedback during the performance
review meeting as part of the stocktaking exercise. Here are
some guidelines.

Provide feedback on actual events
Give feedback related to actual results or observed behaviour.
Back it up with evidence.

Describe, don’t judge
The feedback should be presented as a description of what has
happened; it should not be accompanied by a judgement. If you
start by saying: ‘I have been informed that you have been impo-
lite to one of our customers; we can’t tolerate that sort of
behaviour’, you will instantly create resistance and prejudice an
opportunity to encourage improvement.

Refer to specific behaviours
Relate all your feedback to specific items of behaviour. Don’t
indulge in transmitting general feelings or impressions.
                                     Managing performance ■ 103

Ask questions
Ask questions rather than make statements – ‘Why do you
think this happened?’; ‘On reflection, is there any other way in
which you think you could have handled the situation?’; ‘How
do you think you should tackle this sort of situation in the

Select key issues
Select key issues and restrict yourself to them. There is a limit
to how much criticism anyone can take. If you overdo it, the
shutters will go up and you will get nowhere.

Focus on aspects of performance the individual can improve. It
is a waste of time to concentrate on areas that the individual
can do little or nothing about.

Provide positive feedback
Provide feedback on the things that the individual did well in
addition to areas for improvement. People are more likely to
work positively at improving their performance and developing
their skills if they feel empowered by the process.

Dealing with issues
In a review meeting you have to deal with performance issues.
Some will be positive, others may be negative. Dealing with
negative points is often the area of greatest concern to line
managers, many of whom do not like handing out criticisms.
But this is not what performance reviews are about. They
should not be regarded simply as an opportunity for attaching
blame for something that has gone wrong in the past. If there
has been a problem it should have been discussed when it
happened. But this does not mean that persistent under-perfor-
mance should go unnoticed during the review meeting. Specific
problems may have been dealt with at the time but it may still
be necessary to discuss a pattern of under-performance. The
104 ■ How to manage people

first step, and often the most difficult one, is to get people to
agree that there is room for improvement. This will best be
achieved if the discussion focuses on factual evidence of perfor-
mance problems. Some people will never admit to being wrong
and in those cases you may have to say in effect: ‘Here is the
evidence; I have no doubt that this is correct; I am afraid you
have to accept from me on the basis of this evidence that your
performance in this respect has been unsatisfactory.’
   And the positive elements should not be neglected. Too often
they are overlooked or mentioned briefly then put on one side.
Avoid a sequence of comments like this:

■   objective number one – fantastic;
■   objective number two – that was great;
■   objective number three – couldn’t have been done better;
■   now objective number four – this is what we really need to
    talk about, what went wrong?

If this sort of approach is adopted, the discussion will focus on
the failure, the negatives, and the individual will become defen-
sive. This can be destructive and explains why some people feel
that the annual review meeting is going to be a ‘beat me over
the head’ session or part of a blame culture.
   To under-emphasize the positive aspects reduces the scope
for action and motivation. More can be achieved by building
on success than by concentrating on failure. In the words of
Bing Crosby: ‘Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.’

       Helping people to
       learn and develop

As a manager or team leader you need skilled, knowledgeable
and competent people in your department or team. You may
appoint able people from within and outside the organization
but most of them will still have a lot to learn about their jobs.
And to improve your team members’ performance you must
not only ensure that they learn the basic skills they need but
also that they develop those skills to enable them to perform
even better when faced with new demands and challenges.
   Most learning happens at the place of work, although it can
be supplemented by such activities as e-learning (the delivery of
learning opportunities and support via computer, networked
and web-based technology) and formal ‘off-the-job’ training
courses. It is your job to ensure that favourable conditions for
learning ‘on the job’ exist generally in your area as well as
taking steps to help individuals develop. To do this job well you
need to know about:
■ the conditions that enable effective learning to take place;
■ the importance of ‘self-managed learning’, ie individuals
  taking control of their own learning;
■ the contribution of formal learning;
■ the advantages and disadvantages of informal learning and
  development approaches;
106 ■ How to manage people

■ how you can contribute to promoting learning and devel-
  opment in your department or team;
■ the use of such learning and development aids as coaching,
  mentoring, learning contracts and personal development
■ how to instruct people in specific tasks should the need

Conditions for effective learning
The conditions required for learning to be effective are:

■   Individuals must be motivated to learn. They should be
    aware that their present level of knowledge, skill or compe-
    tence, or their existing attitude or behaviour, needs to be
    developed or improved if they are to perform their work to
    their own and to others’ satisfaction. They must, therefore,
    have a clear picture of the behaviour they should adopt.
■   Good learning is more likely to be achieved if learners have
    learning goals. They should have targets and standards of
    performance which they find acceptable and achievable and
    can use to judge their own progress. They should be
    encouraged and helped to set their own goals.
■   Learners need a sense of direction and feedback on how
    they are doing. Self-motivated individuals may provide
    much of this for themselves, but guidance, help and encour-
    agement should still be available when necessary – they
    should not be left to sink or swim.
■   Learners must gain satisfaction from learning. They are
    most capable of learning if it satisfies one or more of their
    needs. Conversely, the best learning programmes can fail if
    they are not seen as useful by those undertaking them.
■   Learning is an active, not a passive process. Learners need
    to be actively involved.
■   Appropriate processes and methods should be used. A large
    repertory of these exists but they must be used with
                          Helping people to learn and develop ■ 107

    discrimination in accordance with the needs and learning
    style of the individual and the group.
■   Learning methods should be varied. The use of a variety of
    methods, as long as they are all appropriate, helps learning
    by engaging the interest of learners.
■   Learning requires time to assimilate, test and accept. This
    time should be provided in the learning programme.
■   The learner should receive reinforcement of correct behav-
    iour. Learners usually need to know quickly that they are
    doing well. In a prolonged programme, intermediate steps
    are required in which learning can be reinforced.
■   It must be recognized that there are different levels of
    learning and that these need different methods and take
    different times. At the simplest level, learning requires
    direct physical responses, memorization and basic condi-
    tioning. At a higher level, learning involves adapting
    existing knowledge or skill to a new task or environment.
    At the next level, learning becomes a complex process when
    principles are identified in a range of practices or actions,
    when a series of isolated tasks have to be integrated or
    when the process is about developing interpersonal skills.
    The most complex form of learning takes place when
    learning is concerned with the values and attitudes of
    people and groups.
■   The focus should be on individual learning, ensuring that it
    takes place when required – ‘ just-for-you’ and ‘just-in-time’

Self-managed learning
Self-managed learning involves encouraging individuals to take
responsibility for their own learning needs. The aim is to
encourage ‘discretionary learning’, which happens when indi-
viduals actively seek to acquire the knowledge and skills
required to perform well. It is based on processes of recording
achievement and action planning, which involves individuals
108 ■ How to manage people

reviewing what they have learnt, what they have achieved,
what their goals are, how they are going to achieve those goals
and what new learning they need to acquire. The learning
programme can be ‘self-paced’ in the sense that learners can
decide for themselves, up to a point, the rate at which they
work and are encouraged to measure their own progress and
adjust the programme accordingly.
   Self-directed learning is based on the principle that people
learn and retain more if they find things out for themselves. But
they still need to be given guidance on what to look for and
help in finding it. Learners have to be encouraged to define,
with whatever help they may require, what they need to know
to perform their job effectively. They need to be provided with
guidance on where they can get the material or information
that will help them to learn and how to make good use of it.
Personal development plans as described later in this chapter
can provide a framework for this process. People also need
support from their manager and the organization, with the
provision of coaching, mentoring and learning facilities,
including e-learning.

Formal learning
Formal learning is planned and systematic and involves the use
of structured approaches to learning. It may be provided by the
organization in the form of training courses and you need to
know what is available and its relevance to the learning needs
of your team members. However, people are too often sent on
company courses ‘because they are there’. Such courses should
only be used if they are relevant. You should be confident that
the learning acquired on the course is needed by the people
involved and can be transferred to the place of work, which is
not always the case. Informal learning which is under your
direct control, is rooted in the work people do and is contin-
uous and progressive can be much more appropriate.
                          Helping people to learn and develop ■ 109

Informal learning
Informal learning is learning through experience. For many
people learning takes place entirely in the workplace while they
are doing their normal job. The simple act of observing more
experienced colleagues can accelerate learning; conversing,
swapping stories, cooperating on tasks and offering mutual
support deepen and solidify the process. This kind of learning –
often very informal in nature – is thought by many learning and
development experts to be vastly more effective in building
proficiency than more formalized training methods.
  The advantages of informal learning are that it is relevant – it
takes place in the working environment. Understanding can be
achieved in incremental steps rather than in indigestible hunks
and learners can readily put their learning into practice.
  The disadvantages are that it may be left to chance – some
people will benefit, some won’t. It can be unplanned and unsys-
tematic and learners may simply pick up bad habits. These
disadvantages are significant. You cannot leave learning to
chance; as explained below, you have a vital part to play.

How you can promote learning
and development
Overall your role is to ensure that conditions in your depart-
ment or team are conducive to learning. This can be described
as creating a ‘learning culture’, an environment in which steps
are taken to understand how learning can benefit individual
and team performance, to provide learning opportunities as the
need arises, to encourage self-managed learning and to recog-
nize that learning is a continuous process in which all can take
part and everyone can benefit. Your function is to provide the
leadership and example that will foster this culture and to see
that guidance and help are available from you and others to
promote learning and development. To do this you must under-
110 ■ How to manage people

stand learning needs, provide for induction training, use day-
to-day contacts with people to provide them with learning
opportunities, and prepare and agree learning contracts and
personal development plans. You must also be familiar with the
various techniques or processes involved, namely coaching,
mentoring and job instruction.

Understanding learning needs
You should be aware of the knowledge and skills required to
carry out each job in your team so that you can plan the
learning programme required for new team members and
review the levels reached by existing team members to identify
any further learning needs. The basis for this should be role
profiles, as described in Chapter 4, which spell out the knowl-
edge and skill required to reach an acceptable level of perfor-
mance. You can then draw up specifications of what people
should learn and how they should learn it.
   If there are learning and development professionals in your
organization they can help you to carry out analyses and
prepare learning plans. For key jobs a learning specification can
be produced as shown in Figure 9.1.

Induction training
You are initially involved in helping people to learn every time
you welcome new members of your team, plan how they are
going to acquire the know-how required (preferably as
recorded in a learning specification), provide for them to
receive systematic guidance and instruction on the tasks they
have to carry out and see that the plan is implemented. As a
manager you may delegate the responsibility for providing this
induction training to a team leader, or as a team leader you may
carry it out yourself – the ideal method – or delegate it to a
team member. Whichever approach you use, you should be
confident that the individual responsible for the induction has
the right temperament and skills to do it. This includes being
                               Helping people to learn and develop ■ 111

                      LEARNING SPECIFICATION
 Role title: Product Manager            Department: Marketing
 What the role holder must understand
 Learning outcomes                      Learning methods
 ● The product market                   ● Briefing by marketing
                                            manager and advertising
 ● The product specification            ●   Briefing by operations
 ● Market research availability         ●   Briefing by market research
 ● Interpretation of marketing data     ●   Coaching: market research
 ● Customer service requirements        ●   Briefing by customer service
 ● Techniques of product                ●   Institute of Marketing
   management                               courses
 What the role holder must be able to do
 Learning outcomes                      Learning methods
 ● Prepare product budget               ● Coaching by budget
 ● Prepare marketing plans              ● Coaching by mentor
 ● Conduct market reviews               ● Coaching by market research
 ● Prepare marketing campaigns          ● Read product manager’s
 ● Specify requirements for             ● Read product manager’s
   advertisements and promotional           manual
 ● Liaise with advertising agents       ● Attachment to agency
   and creative suppliers
 ● Analyse results of advertising       ● Coaching by mentor
 ● Prepare marketing reports            ● Read previous reports,
                                            observe marketing review
                                            coaching by mentor

Figure 9.1    A learning specification
112 ■ How to manage people

aware of the conditions required for effective learning as set out
earlier and of the use of coaching, mentoring and job instruc-
tion as described later.

Continuous learning
You provide learning opportunities for team members every
time you delegate tasks to them. At the briefing stage you
ensure that they are fully aware of what they have to do and
have the knowledge and skills to do it. If appropriate, you ask
them to tell you what they need to know and be able to do to
carry out the task. If you are unsure that they have all the skills
required but still believe that they can do it with additional
guidance or help, then this is what you provide yourself or
arrange for someone else to do.
   As you monitor progress to whatever degree is necessary (for
some people you will just let them get on with it; for less expe-
rienced people you might need to monitor more closely), you
can follow up to find out if the best approach is being used and
if not, give them any further help they need. But you must be
careful. People will not learn if you do it all for them. You have
to give them a chance to find things out for themselves and
even make mistakes as long as things are not going badly
   When you review outcomes with people, preferably immedi-
ately after the event, it is a good idea to ask them what they
have learnt so that it is reinforced for future use. You can also
ask them if their experience has shown that they need to learn.
This is a good opportunity for you to get individuals to develop
their own learning plans (self-managed learning) but it also
means that you can step in and offer your support.

Learning contracts
A learning contract is a formal agreement between the manager
and the individual on what learning needs to take place, the
objectives of such learning and what part the individual, the
                            Helping people to learn and develop ■ 113

manager, the learning and development department (if one
exists) or a mentor will play in ensuring that learning happens.
The partners to the contract agree on how the objectives will be
achieved and their respective roles. It will spell out learning
programmes and indicate what coaching, mentoring and
formal training activities should be carried out. It is, in effect, a
blueprint for learning. Learning contracts can be part of a
personal development planning process as described below.

Personal development planning
Personal development planning is carried out by individuals
with guidance, encouragement and help from you as required.
A personal development plan sets out the actions people
propose to take to learn and to develop themselves. They take
responsibility for formulating and implementing the plan but
they receive support from their managers in doing so.
  The stages of personal development planning are modelled in
Figure 9.2. The content of each stage is described below:

                    ▲   Assess current position


        Implement                                     Act


                              Plan action   ▲

Figure 9.2 Stages in preparing and implementing a personal
development plan
114 ■ How to manage people

1. Analyse current situation and development needs. This can
   be done as part of a performance management process.
2. Set goals. These could include improving performance in
   the current job, improving or acquiring skills, extending
   relevant knowledge, developing specified areas of compe-
   tence, moving across or upwards in the organization,
   preparing for changes in the current role.
3. Prepare action plan. The action plan sets out what needs to
   be done and how it will be done under headings such as
   outcomes expected (learning objectives), the development
   activities, the responsibility for development (what individ-
   uals are expected to do and the support they will get from
   their manager, the HR department or other people), and
   timing. A variety of activities tuned to individual needs
   should be included in the plan; for example: observing
   what others do, project work, planned use of e-learning
   programmes and internal learning resource centres,
   working with a mentor, coaching by the line manager or
   team leader, experience in new tasks, guided reading and
   special assignments. Formal training to develop knowledge
   and skills may be part of the plan but it is not the most
   important part.
4. Implement. Take action as planned.
The plan can be expressed in the form of a learning contract.

Coaching is a one-to-one method of helping people develop
their skills and competencies. Coaching is often provided by
specialists from inside or outside the organization who concen-
trate on specific areas of skills or behaviour, for example lead-
ership. But it is also something that can happen in the
workplace. As a manager or team leader you should be
prepared and able to act as a coach when necessary to see that
learning takes place.
   The need for coaching may arise from formal or informal
performance reviews, but opportunities for coaching emerge
                          Helping people to learn and develop ■ 115

during day-to-day activities. As part of the normal process of
management, coaching consists of:

■ making people aware of how well they are performing by,
  for example, asking them questions to establish the extent
  to which they have thought through what they are doing;
■ controlled delegation – ensuring that individuals not only
  know what is expected of them but also understand what
  they need to know and be able to do to complete the task
  satisfactorily; this gives managers an opportunity to
  provide guidance at the outset – guidance at a later stage
  may be seen as interference;
■ using whatever situations may arise as opportunities to
  promote learning;
■ encouraging people to look at higher-level problems and
  how they would tackle them.

A common framework used by coaches is the GROW model:

‘G’ is for the goal of coaching, which needs to be expressed in
    specific measurable terms that represent a meaningful step
    towards future development.
‘R’ is for the reality check – the process of eliciting as full as
    possible a description of what the person being coached
    needs to learn.
‘O’ is for option generation – the identification of as many
    solutions and actions as possible.
‘W’ is for wrapping up – when the coach ensures that the indi-
    vidual being coached is committed to action.

To succeed in coaching you need to understand that your role is
to help people to learn and see that they are motivated to learn.
They should be aware that their present level of knowledge or
skill or their behaviour needs to be improved if they are going
to perform their work satisfactorily. Individuals should be
given guidance on what they should be learning and feedback
on how they are doing, and, because learning is an active not a
passive process, they should be actively involved with you in
116 ■ How to manage people

your role as a coach who should be constructive, building on
strengths and experience.
   Coaching may be informal but it has to be planned. It is not
simply checking from time to time on what people are doing
and then advising them on how to do it better. Nor is it occa-
sionally telling people where they have gone wrong and
throwing in a lecture for good measure. As far as possible,
coaching should take place within the framework of a general
plan of the areas and direction in which individuals will benefit
from further development. Coaching plans can and should be
incorporated into the personal development plans set out in a
performance agreement.
   Coaching should provide motivation, structure and effective
feedback. As a coach, you should believe that people can
succeed and that they can contribute to their own success.

Mentoring is the process of using specially selected and trained
individuals to provide guidance, pragmatic advice and contin-
uing support which will help the person or persons allocated to
them to learn and develop. It can be regarded as a method of
helping people to learn, as distinct from coaching, which is a
relatively directive means of increasing people’s competence.
   Mentoring involves learning on the job, which must always
be the best way of acquiring the particular skills and knowl-
edge the job holder needs. It also complements formal training
by providing those who benefit from it with individual guid-
ance from experienced managers who are ‘wise in the ways of
the organization’.
   Mentors provide people with:

■ advice in drawing up self-development programmes or
  learning contracts;
■ general help with learning programmes;
■ guidance on how to acquire the necessary knowledge and
  skills to do a new job;
                         Helping people to learn and develop ■ 117

■   advice on dealing with any administrative, technical or
    people problems individuals meet, especially in the early
    stages of their careers;
■   information on ‘the way things are done around here’ – the
    corporate culture in terms of expected behaviour;
■   coaching in specific skills;
■   help in tackling projects – not by doing it for them but by
    pointing them in the right direction; helping people to help
■   a parental figure with whom individuals can discuss their
    aspirations and concerns and who will lend a sympathetic
    ear to their problems.
Mentors are people who are likely to adopt the right non-direc-
tive but supportive help to the person or persons they are
dealing with. They must then be carefully briefed and trained in
their role.
   As a manager you may be asked to act as a mentor and you
should receive guidance on what is involved. But you may be
able to call on an organizational mentor to provide help with
an individual in your area.
   A version of mentoring which you can use within your
department is what in the United States is sometimes called
‘buddying’. This involves appointing someone in your depart-
ment or team to look after newcomers and ensure that they get
the guidance and help they need to settle down quickly.

Job instruction
When you arrange for people to learn specific tasks, especially
those involving manual skills, the learning will be more effec-
tive if you use, or arrange for someone to use, job instruction
techniques. The sequence of instruction should consist of the
following stages.

Preparation for each instruction period means that the trainer
must have a plan for presenting the subject matter and using
118 ■ How to manage people

appropriate teaching methods, visual aids and demonstration
aids. It also means preparing trainees for the instruction that is
to follow. They should want to learn. They must perceive that
the learning will be relevant and useful to them personally.
They should be encouraged to take pride in their job and to
appreciate the satisfaction that comes from skilled perfor-

Presentation should consist of a combination of telling and
showing – explanation and demonstration. Explanation should
be as simple and direct as possible: the trainer explains briefly
the ground to be covered and what to look for. He or she makes
the maximum use of charts, diagrams and other visual aids.
The aim should be to teach first things first and then proceed
from the known to the unknown, the simple to the complex,
the concrete to the abstract, the general to the particular, the
observation to reasoning, and the whole to the parts and back
to the whole again.

Demonstration is an essential stage in instruction, especially
when the skill to be learnt is mainly a doing skill. Demonstra-
tion can take place in three stages:

1. The complete operation is shown at normal speed to show
   the trainee how the task should be carried out eventually.
2. The operation is demonstrated slowly and in correct
   sequence, element by element, to indicate clearly what is
   done and the order in which each task is carried out.
3. The operation is demonstrated again slowly, at least two or
   three times, to stress the how, when and why of successive

The learner then practises by imitating the instructor and
constantly repeating the operation under guidance. The aim is
to reach the target level of performance for each element of the
total task, but the instructor must constantly strive to develop
                         Helping people to learn and develop ■ 119

coordinated and integrated performance; that is, the smooth
combination of the separate elements of the task into a whole
job pattern.

Follow-up continues during the training period for all the time
required by the learner to reach a level of performance equal to
that of the normal experienced worker in terms of quality,
speed and attention to safety. During the follow-up stage, the
learner will continue to need help with particularly difficult
tasks or to overcome temporary setbacks which result in a dete-
rioration of performance. The instructor may have to repeat
the presentation of the elements and supervise practice more
closely until the trainee regains confidence or masters the task.

       Rewarding people

People will contribute more and cooperate more wholeheart-
edly if they feel that they are valued. This happens when you
recognize them for what they achieve and reward them
according to their contribution. Although many organizations
have some form of reward system, usually managed by the HR
function, it is the frontline manager who exerts the greatest
influence on how people are valued. The extent to which line
managers are responsible for rewarding people varies
according to the system used or the lack of a system. Managers
in public and many voluntary sector organizations exert little
influence on the financial aspects of reward. There will be a pay
spine with fixed increments related to service and, probably, a
job evaluation scheme which dictates job gradings and there-
fore pay. However, in many small or even medium-sized orga-
nizations there is no formal reward system and managers have
a considerable degree of freedom in managing pay.
   Reference has been made above to ‘reward systems’ and if
you are working in an organization with one, it is necessary to
understand what this term means, and this is explained in the
first part of the chapter. The overall approach you should
adopt to rewarding people, whether or not there is a system, is
discussed in the next part. The following parts of the chapter
are concerned with what managers and team leaders do about
deciding on grades and rates for the job, and with conducting
pay reviews when systems exist for progressing pay according
                                        Rewarding people ■ 121

to performance or contribution. The last part of the chapter
covers what managers do when there is no reward system or
only a vestigial one.

Reward systems
A reward system consists of explicit policies, practices and
procedures which are organized and managed as a whole. A
complete system is based on reward policies which set guide-
lines for decision making and action. For example, an organi-
zation may have a policy which sets the levels of pay in the
organization compared with median market rates. The system
itself consists of reward practices which comprise grading jobs,
deciding on rates of pay and reviewing pay levels, grade and
pay structures, methods of progressing pay according to perfor-
mance, contribution or service, and employee benefits such as
pension schemes and sick pay. The degree to which these prac-
tices are formalized will vary considerably between different
organizations. For example, many organizations (60 per cent
according to a recent e-reward survey) have formal job evalua-
tion schemes, but a large proportion rely on more or less
informal methods. Similarly, a lot of organizations have formal
grade and pay structures but 20 per cent of those responding to
the e-reward survey had no structure at all. And performance
and contribution-related pay schemes vary enormously in the
ways in which they operate.
   The implication is that if you want to play your part in
managing the reward system you must understand how it
works. You should be told this by HR but, if not, it’s up to you
to find out.

Approaches to rewarding people
You need to understand the factors that determine the effective-
ness of the formal or informal system in terms of the degree to
122 ■ How to manage people

which it satisfies people because they feel valued and the extent
to which it contributes to their motivation and engagement.
These factors consist of the use of both financial and non-finan-
cial rewards and how the system is operated as a fair, equitable,
consistent and transparent approach to rewarding people.

Financial and non-financial rewards
Financial rewards consist of the rate for the job (base pay), pay
related to performance or contribution (contingent pay) and
benefits such as pension schemes. The ways such rewards work
as motivators were considered in Chapter 3. To be effective,
such rewards should be perceived as fair, equitable and consis-
tent (see below). They will work better if the system is trans-
parent. People should also expect that their efforts will lead to
a worthwhile reward – there must be a ‘line of sight’ between
what they do and what they get, between the effort and the
reward. They will also respond more to financial rewards if the
system is transparent – they know how it works and how it
affects them.
   Non-financial rewards can provide a better basis for valuing
people because they are more under your control. You are in
the best position to value people through them. Financial
rewards are restricted by financial budgets and company proce-
dures. The main ways of valuing people through non-financial
rewards are:

■ providing them with the opportunity to achieve;
■ recognizing their contribution by praise and by ‘applause’
  (letting others know how well you value an individual);
■ giving people more responsibility (empowering them);
■ providing them with the opportunity to grow – offering
  learning opportunities, encouraging and supporting the
  preparation and implementation of personal development
  plans and broadening their experience (job enlargement).

Both financial and non-financial rewards are important. Many
organizations are now combining their impact by developing
                                                  Rewarding people ■ 123

what is called a ‘total reward’ system. Essentially, this notion of
total reward says that there is more to rewarding people than
throwing money at them. Unilever states that total reward
‘encompasses all the elements that make it worthwhile for
people to come to work’. Perhaps the most powerful argument
for a total rewards approach was produced by Professor Jeffrey
Pfeffer (1998) of Stanford University:

  Creating a fun, challenging, and empowered work environment in
  which individuals are able to use their abilities to do meaningful jobs for
  which they are shown appreciation is likely to be a more certain way to
  enhance motivation and performance – even though creating such an
  environment may be more difficult and take more time than simply
  turning the reward lever.

People will react positively to financial rewards if they feel that
they are fair – this is the ‘felt-fair’ principle. Perceptions on fair-
ness are based on the extent to which people believe that the
procedure followed in making the reward is fair and they are
rewarded according to their desserts. If there is a performance-
related pay system they will want to feel that the method of
assessing their performance was based on what they had actu-
ally achieved and was not affected by bias, prejudice or igno-
rance. They will also want to feel that their rewards are
commensurate with their performance compared with other
people, ie they are equitable, as discussed below.

Equity is achieved when people are rewarded appropriately in
relation to others within the organization and in accordance
with their worth and the value of their contribution. An equit-
able reward system ensures that relative worth is measured as
objectively as possible and that a framework is provided for
making defensible judgements about job values and grading.
124 ■ How to manage people

The system should allow consistent decisions to be made about
reward levels and individual rates of pay. Policy guidelines
should be available to line managers to ensure that they avoid
making decisions that deviate unjustifiably from what would
be generally regarded as fair and equitable.

Transparency exists in a reward system when people under-
stand how reward processes function and how they are affected
by them. The reasons for pay decisions are explained at the
time they are made. Employees have a voice in the development
of reward policies and practices.

The role of managers
You are in a strong position to make the difference in all these
areas. But remember that if you want people to be more moti-
vated and engaged because they feel more valued, it is deeds
not words that count. Inconsistency between what is said and
done is the best way to undermine trust and generate employee
cynicism, lack of interest or even open hostility.

Fixing grades and rates of pay
If there is a grade and pay structure, those parts of the organi-
zation’s reward system in the form of its job evaluation scheme
and its procedures for analysing market rates largely determine
how jobs are graded and the basic rates for jobs. You can influ-
ence decisions about individuals by invoking the job evaluation
scheme to grade or re-grade jobs and by scanning any informa-
tion on market rates that you think justifies more pay for
                                          Rewarding people ■ 125

   Job evaluation procedures are based on job descriptions
which highlight the characteristics of the job with respect to
any factors used in the scheme, such as the levels of skill and
responsibility involved. In point-factor schemes (the most
common method) judgements about these levels are converted
into points so that a total score is attached to a job which deter-
mines its grade and therefore pay. Managers are often tempted
to advance the cause of their staff by inflating the characteris-
tics set out in the job description and therefore committing the
sin of ‘point grabbing’. This is undesirable because a) it is
dishonest, b) it damages the integrity of the scheme and c) it
creates inequities between jobs.
   One of the issues that should concern you is that of equal pay
for work of equal value. Your aim should be to achieve equity
between like jobs held by men or women, people in different
racial groups, sexual orientation or religion, people with and
without disabilities and older and younger people. This will
avoid expensive and time-consuming equal pay cases but, more
importantly, it is the right thing to do.

Reviewing pay
Decisions on general ‘across the board’ increases are generally
outside the line manager’s control. But if your organization has
a scheme for relating individual pay to performance or contri-
bution you will be involved in determining the amounts people
should get. In the past, line managers were often given little
scope to make such decisions and even the extent to which they
could influence them was limited. Increasingly, however,
responsibility is being devolved to managers and this makes
quite considerable demands on their judgement and their
ability to be fair and consistent. One of the reasons why most
unions oppose performance-related pay is that they believe, not
without some justification, that managers tend to be unfair and
prone to prejudice and favouritism when, as part of a perfor-
mance appraisal scheme, they rate performance on a scale that
governs pay increases.
126 ■ How to manage people

   Either that, or managers can play a zero sum game by
awarding a few high increases to their favourites and keeping
within their budgets by distributing small awards to other
people or nothing at all. Alternatively, they can fail to discrimi-
nate between performance levels by awarding everyone, or at
least the vast majority of people, the same. Managers in a
public sector government agency once torpedoed a perfor-
mance-related pay scheme they didn’t like by giving everyone
the same ‘box markings’, ie performance ratings, which meant
that all the staff got the same small increase.
   Some organizations have addressed these issues by devolving
pay to line managers but ensuring that they are issued with
guidelines and technical support in making pay decisions. For
example, the HR function at Lloyds TSB traditionally
controlled the implementation of pay policies and practices.
Line managers did what they were told. The company gradu-
ally replaced these centralized, command and control arrange-
ments with a system of devolved pay management. As Tim
Fevyer, Senior Manager, Compensation and Benefits,
explained: ‘Lloyds TSB considered that the best place for mak-
ing decisions about people’s basic pay is where the majority of
information is. Most of the information, skills and knowledge
is held at the local level with the line manager. Rather than
dictate pay adjustments from the centre pay management deci-
sions were devolved. Line managers were given a pot of money
and were free to allocate it where the need was greatest and
where circumstances dictate.’ The broad guidelines provided by
Lloyds TSB to line managers suggested that in making pay deci-
sions they should consider:

■ the individual’s current role and pay position in the salary
■ what people in the same or similar roles are being paid;
■ how they value the individual’s skills, competencies and
  performance in this role, relative to the nearest pay refer-
  ence point;
■ the function and geographical market rate for this role;
                                         Rewarding people ■ 127

■ what recent pay awards they have received;
■ entering into a ‘dialogue’ about expectations – managers
  should talk to their people about where they are and where
  they could be;
■ any other relevant factors such as the degree of challenge of
  the job, the amount of learning required, and their recent
  performance history.

Line managers are now provided with a pay pot, which could
be worth, say, 3.5 per cent of the pay budget, and are free to
distribute it to reflect each individual’s contribution. They are
supplied with details of the salaries they would be expected to
pay a typical employee who is fully experienced and consis-
tently delivers a fully effective level of performance over a
sustained period of time in a given role. Additionally, managers
are supplied with details of actual salaries in their department
or area to enable them to make comparisons against the rele-
vant internal market. They are also given the pay reference
points for the appropriate benchmark roles. An individual may
be paid at, below or above this pay reference point, depending
on the contribution of their role relative to the nearest bench-
mark role, and on their experience, skills and contribution in
their particular role. Pay decisions are made on the basis of the
manager’s overall budget pay pot, the market, and internal
equity, and they are scrutinized by the manager’s manager
and the HR manager for fairness and consistency. There is
a need to exercise control to achieve what is regarded as a
proper degree of equity and consistency. Besides adherence to
the pay budget, additional control is provided by careful moni-
toring of the distribution of pay in bands to ensure that anom-
alies and unusual pay distributions do not occur. But
the structure provides line managers with much greater
flexibility to manage the career development and pay of their
   Many organizations try to avoid the problems of relying on
performance ratings in the annual performance review to
inform pay decisions, largely because this process runs counter
to the main objective of such reviews, which is to improve
128 ■ How to manage people

performance and to provide the basis for learning and develop-
ment plans. Quite often, such organizations ‘decouple’ pay
reviews from performance reviews, ie they hold them at sepa-
rate times in the year, possibly three or four months apart. They
may even abandon ratings altogether and simply ask managers
to recommend above average, average or below average pay
increases depending on their assessments of contribution,
potential market rate relativities and the rates of pay of other
team members. To help managers they provide them with
systems support. For example, a financial sector company
purchased a software application which helps it to develop an
in-depth compensation reward modelling capability and put
more decisions in the hands of line managers. The pay review
modelling software enables the company to create performance
guidelines which are issued to line managers and generate
reports analysing the distribution of pay by almost any vari-
able, to assist in managing and auditing the reward system.
These reports are standardized across the business and pro-
vided to the managers responsible for pay decisions. Spread-
sheets can be developed, as at Bass Brewers, which provide
managers with the data they need on the distribution of pay
amongst their staff and on market rates. They enable them to
model alternative distributions of awards and, after a series of
‘what ifs’, achieve the optimum distribution of their pay review
budget to individuals.

Managing without a reward
If you do not have the support of a formal reward system or a
helpful HR department, you may largely have to make deci-
sions yourself on what people should be paid. You may have to
get approval from a higher authority and you may have to
work within a budget, but you are virtually on your own when
you deal with your staff. In these circumstances there are 10
things you should do as set out below.
                                           Rewarding people ■ 129

Managing your own reward system
 1. Remember that you are attempting to achieve internal
    equity (paying people according to their relative contribu-
    tion) at the same time as being externally competitive
    (paying rates that will attract and retain the level of people
    you need).
 2. Appreciate that it is often difficult to reconcile equity and
 3. Obtain information on market rates from reliable sources
    (surveys and agencies). Do not rely on job advertisements.
 4. If you have to bow to market forces, make certain that you
    have got your facts right and that the case for what is
    sometimes called a market supplement can be objectively
 5. Take steps to ensure that equal pay is provided for work of
    equal value.
 6. Try to obtain objective reasons differentiating between the
    base pay of different jobs. While you need not go to the
    extreme of developing your own analytical job evaluation
    scheme, you can at least compare jobs by reference to
    role profiles which indicate the levels of responsibility and
    knowledge and skills they involve.
 7. Review rates basic of pay by reference to market rates, not
    just to increases in the cost of living.
 8. When looking at individual rates of pay, consider what
    people are earning in relation to their colleagues. Ask
    yourself the questions: are they just as good, are they
    better, are they worse than their colleagues? Rank your
    team members in order by reference to their relative levels
    of contribution. Give the top 15% or so an above average
    increase, the bottom 15% or so a below average increase
    and the rest an average increase.
 9. Consider other methods of rewarding your people besides
    pay, especially recognizing their contribution.
10. Ensure that your team members know the basis upon
    which you have made decisions about their pay and give
    them the opportunity to raise any of their concerns.

        Managing change

Change is the only constant thing that happens in organiza-
tions. There can be few managers who have never had to meet
the challenge of introducing a new organization structure, new
methods of working, a revision to job duties, new management
systems or alterations in terms and conditions of employment.
   The challenge arises because people can find change difficult
to accept or to cope with. Many people resist change, any
change. Some may accept the need for change but can’t adjust
their behaviour to respond to it. There are some people who
welcome change but they are probably in the minority.
   Your role as a manager is to see that change happens
smoothly when the occasion arises. To do this you should
know the general approaches you can take to manage change,
the reasons why people resist change and how to overcome this
resistance, and the specific steps you can take to introduce
change and ensure that it takes place as planned.

Approaches to managing change
The following five approaches to managing change were identi-
fied by Professor Keith Thurley (1979) of the London School of
                                          Managing change ■ 131

1. Directive – the imposition of change in crisis situations or
   when other methods have failed. This is done by the exer-
   cise of managerial power without consultation.
2. Bargained – this approach recognizes that power is shared
   between the employer and the employed and that change
   requires negotiation, compromise and agreement before
   being implemented.
3. ‘Hearts and minds’ – an all-embracing thrust to change the
   attitudes, values and beliefs of the whole workforce. This
   seeks ‘commitment’ and ‘shared vision’ but does not neces-
   sarily include involvement or participation.
4. Analytical – an approach to change which proceeds sequen-
   tially from the analysis and diagnosis of the situation,
   through the setting of objectives, the design of the change
   process, the evaluation of the results and, finally, the deter-
   mination of the objectives for the next stage in the change
   process. This is the rational and logical approach much
   favoured by consultants – external and internal. But change
   seldom proceeds as smoothly as this model would suggest.
   Emotions, power politics and external pressures mean that
   the rational approach, although it might be the right way to
   start, is difficult to sustain.
5. Action-based – this recognizes that the way managers
   behave in practice bears little resemblance to the analytical
   model. The distinction between managerial thought and
   managerial action blurs in the event to the point of in-
   visibility. What managers think is what they do. Real
   life therefore often results in a ‘ready, aim, fire’ approach
   to change management. This typical approach to change
   starts with a broad belief that some sort of problem
   exists, although it may not be well defined. The identifica-
   tion of possible solutions, often on a trial and error basis,
   leads to a clarification of the nature of the problem and a
   shared understanding of a possible optimal solution, or at
   least a framework within which solutions can be discov-
132 ■ How to manage people

The analytical process may be ideal and should at least be
attempted. But it should be tempered with the realism attached
to the action-based approach.

Resistance to change
Change management programmes have to take account of the
fact that many people resist change. There are those who are
stimulated by change and see it as a challenge and an opportu-
nity. But they are in the minority. It is always easy for people to
select any of the following 10 reasons for doing nothing:
 1. It won’t work.
 2. We’re already doing it.
 3. It’s been tried before without success.
 4. It’s not practical.
 5. It won’t solve the problem.
 6. It’s too risky.
 7. It’s based on pure theory.
 8. It will cost too much.
 9. It will antagonize the customers/management/the union/
    the workers/the shareholders.
10. It will create more problems than it solves.

Reasons for resistance to change
People resist change when they see it as a threat to their estab-
lished life at work. They are used to their routines and patterns
of behaviour and may be concerned about their ability to cope
with new demands. They see change as a threat to familiar
patterns of behaviour. They may believe that it will affect their
status, security or their earnings. Sometimes, and with good
reason, they may not believe statements by management that
the change is for their benefit as well as that of the organiza-
tion. They may feel that managements have ulterior motives
and sometimes, the louder management protests, the less it will
be believed.
                                                     Managing change ■ 133

  Joan Woodward (1968) looked at change from the viewpoint
of employees and wrote:
    When we talk about resistance to change we tend to imply that manage-
    ment is always rational in changing its direction, and that employees are
    stupid, emotional or irrational in not responding in the way they should.
    But if an individual is going to be worse off, explicitly or implicitly, when
    the proposed changes have been made, any resistance is entirely
    rational in terms of their best interest. The interests of the organization
    and the individual do not always coincide.

Overcoming resistance to change
Because resistance to change is a natural and even inevitable
phenomenon it may be difficult to overcome. But the attempt
must be made. This starts with an analysis of the likely effect of
change and the extent to which it might be resisted, by whom
and why. It is not enough to think out what the change will be
and calculate the benefits and costs from the proposer’s point
of view. The others involved will almost inevitably see the bene-
fits as less and the costs as greater. It is necessary to ‘think
through’ the proposed change and obtain answers to the
following questions:

■     Will the change alter job content?
■     Will it introduce new and unknown tasks?
■     Will it disrupt established methods of working?
■     Will it rearrange team relationships?
■     Will it reduce autonomy or authority?
■     Will it be perceived as lowering status?
■     Will it lead to job losses?
■     Will it result in a loss of pay or other benefits?

On the other side, it is necessary to answer the question: ‘What
are the benefits in pay, status, job satisfaction and career
prospects which are generated by the change as well as the
increase in performance?’
   Resistance to change may never be overcome completely but
it can be reduced through involvement and communications.
134 ■ How to manage people

Involvement in the change process gives people the chance to
raise and resolve their concerns and make suggestions about
the form of the change and how it should be introduced. The
aim is to get ‘ownership’ – a feeling amongst people that the
change is something that they are happy to live with because
they have been involved in its planning and introduction – it
has become their change.

Communicating plans for change
The first and most critical step for managing change is to
develop and communicate a clear image of the future.
Resistance and confusion frequently develop because people
are unclear about what the future state will be like. Thus the
purposes of the change become blurred, and individual
expectancies get formed on the basis of incorrect information.
  Communications should describe why change is necessary,
what the changes will look like, how they will be achieved and
how people will be affected by them. The aim is to ensure that
unnecessary fears are allayed by keeping people informed using
a variety of methods – written communications, the intranet
and, best of all, face-to-face briefings and discussions.

  10 guidelines for change
   1. The achievement of sustainable change requires strong
      commitment and visionary leadership.
   2. Proposals for change should be based on a convincing
      business case supported by a practical programme for
      implementing the change and reaping the benefits.
   3. Change is inevitable and necessary. It is necessary to
      explain why change is essential and how it will affect
                                         Managing change ■ 135

 4. Hard evidence and data on the need for change are the
    most powerful tools for its achievement, but establishing
    the need for change is easier than deciding how to satisfy
 5. People support what they help to create. Commitment to
    change is improved if those affected by change are
    allowed to participate as fully as possible in planning and
    implementing it. The aim should be to get them to ‘own’
    the change as something they want and will be glad to live
 6. Change will always involve failure as well as success. The
    failures must be expected and learnt from.
 7. It is easier to change behaviour by changing processes,
    structure and systems than to change attitudes.
 8. There are always people in organizations who can act as
    champions of change. They will welcome the challenges
    and opportunities that change can provide. They are the
    ones to be chosen as change agents.
 9. Resistance to change is inevitable if the individuals
    concerned feel that they are going to be worse off – implic-
    itly or explicitly. The inept management of change will
    produce that reaction.
10. Every effort must be made to protect the interests of those
    affected by change.

             Handling people

If you manage people you have to manage people problems.
They are bound to happen and you are the person on the spot
who has to handle them. The basic approach you should use in
tackling people problems is to:

1. Get the facts. Make sure that you have all the information
   or evidence you need to understand exactly what the
   problem is.
2. Weigh and decide. Analyse the facts to identify the causes
   of the problem. Consider any alternative solutions to the
   problem and decide which is likely to be the most
3. Take action. Following the decision, plan what you are
   going to do, establish goals and success criteria and put the
   plan into effect.
4. Check results. Monitor the implementation of the plan and

The most typical problems covered in this chapter are to do

■   absenteeism;
■   disciplinary issues;
                                   Handling people problems ■ 137

■   negative behaviour;
■   timekeeping;
■   under-performance.

A frequent people problem you probably have to face is that of
dealing with absenteeism. A survey by the Chartered Institute
of Personnel and Development in 2007 established that absence
levels averaged 8.4 days a year per person. Your own organiza-
tion should have figures which indicate average absence levels.
If the levels in your department are below the average for the
organization or, in the absence of that information, below the
national average, you should not be complacent – you should
continue to monitor the absence of individuals to find out
whose absence levels are above the average and why. If your
department’s absence figures are significantly higher than the
norm you may have to take more direct action such as discus-
sing with individuals whose absence rates are high the reasons
for their absences, especially when it has been self-certificated.
You may have to deal with recurrent short-term (one or two
days) absence or longer-term sickness absence.

Recurrent short-term absence
Dealing with people who are repeatedly absent for short
periods can be difficult to handle. This is because it may be
hard to determine when occasional absence becomes a problem
or whether it is justifiable, perhaps on medical grounds.
  So what do you do about it? Many organizations provide
guidelines to managers on the ‘trigger points’ for action (the
amount of absence which needs to be investigated), perhaps
based on analyses of the incidence of short-term absence and
the level at which it is regarded as acceptable (in many organi-
zations software exists to generate analyses and data which can
be made available direct to managers through a self-service
138 ■ How to manage people

system). If guidelines do not exist you can seek advice from an
HR specialist, if one is available. In the absence of either of
these sources of help and in particularly difficult cases, it may
be advisable to recommend to higher management that advice
is obtained from an employment law expert.
   But this sort of guidance may not be available and you may
have to make up your own mind on when to do something and
what to do. A day off every other month may not be too
serious, although if it happens regularly on a Monday (after
weekends in Prague, Barcelona etc?) or a Friday (before such
weekends?) you may feel like having a word with the indi-
vidual, not as a warning but just to let him or her know that
you are aware of what is going on. There may be a medical or
other acceptable explanation. Return-to-work interviews can
provide valuable information. You see the individual and find
out why the time was taken off, giving him or her ample oppor-
tunity to explain the absence.
   In persistent cases of absenteeism you can hold an absence
review meeting. Although this would be more comprehensive
than a return-to-work interview, it should not at this stage be
presented as part of a disciplinary process. The meeting should
be positive and constructive. If absence results from a health
problem you can find out what the employee is doing about it
and if necessary suggest that his or her doctor should be
consulted. Or absences may be caused by problems facing a
parent or a carer. In such cases you should be sympathetic but
you can reasonably discuss with the individual what steps can
be taken to reduce the problem, or you might be able to agree
on flexible working if that can be arranged. The aim is to get
the employee to discuss as openly as possible any factors
affecting their attendance and to agree any constructive steps
   If after holding an attendance review meeting and, it is to be
hoped, agreeing the steps necessary to reduce absenteeism,
short-term absence persists without a satisfactory explanation,
then another meeting can be held which emphasizes the
employee’s responsibility for attending work. Depending on the
circumstances (each case should be dealt with on its merits), at
                                  Handling people problems ■ 139

this meeting you can link any positive support with an indica-
tion that following the provision of support you expect absence
levels to improve over a defined timescale (an improvement
period). If this does not happen, the individual can expect more
formal disciplinary action.

Dealing with long-term absence
Dealing with long-term absence can be difficult. The aim
should be to facilitate the employee’s return to work at the
earliest reasonable point while recognizing that in extreme
cases the person may not be able to come back. In that case
they can fairly be dismissed for lack of capability as long as:

■ the employee has been consulted at all stages;
■ contact with the employee has been maintained – this is
  something you can usefully do as long as you do not appear
  to be pressing them to return to work before they are ready;
■ appropriate medical advice has been sought from the
  employee’s own doctor, but the employee’s consent is
  needed and employees have the right to see the report and it
  may be desirable to obtain a second opinion;
■ all reasonable options for alternative employment have
  been reviewed as well as any other means of facilitating a
  return to work.

The decision to dismiss should only be taken if these conditions
are satisfied. It is a tricky one and you should seek advice
before taking it, from HR, if available, or from an employment
law expert.

Disciplinary issues
Employees can be dismissed because they are not capable of
doing the work or for misconduct. It is normal to go through a
formal disciplinary procedure containing staged warnings, but
140 ■ How to manage people

instant dismissal can be justified for gross misconduct (eg
serious theft) which should preferably be defined in the
company’s disciplinary procedure or employee handbook. But
anyone with a year’s service or more can claim unfair dismissal
if their employer cannot show that one of these reasons
applied, if the dismissal was not reasonable in the circum-
stances, if a constructive dismissal has taken place, or if there
has been a breach of a customary or agreed redundancy proce-
dure and there are no valid reasons for departing from that
   Even if the employer can show to an employment tribunal
that there was good reason to dismiss the employee, the
tribunal will still have to decide whether or not the employer
acted in a reasonable way at the time of dismissal. The princi-
ples defining ‘reasonable’ behaviour are in line with the princi-
ples of natural justice and are as follows:

■   The employee should be informed of the nature of the
■   The employee should be given the chance to explain.
■   The employee should be given the opportunity to improve,
    except in particularly gross cases of incapability or miscon-
■   The employee should be warned of the consequences in the
    shape of dismissal if specified improvements do not take
■   The employer’s decision to dismiss should be based on
    sufficient evidence.
■   The employer should take any mitigating circumstances
    into account.
■   The offence or misbehaviour should merit the penalty of
    dismissal rather than some lesser penalty.

Your organization may have a statutory disciplinary procedure.
You need to know what that procedure is and the part you are
expected to play in implementing it. Whether or not there is a
formal procedure, if you believe that disciplinary action is
                                  Handling people problems ■ 141

necessary you need you take the following steps when planning
and conducting a disciplinary interview:

 1. Get all the facts in advance, including statements from
    people involved.
 2. Invite the employee to the meeting in writing, explaining
    why it is being held and that they have the right to have
    someone present at the meeting on their behalf.
 3. Ensure that the employee has reasonable notice (ideally at
    least two days).
 4. Plan how you will conduct the meeting.
 5. Line up another member of management to attend the
    meeting with you to take notes (they can be important if
    there is an appeal) and generally provide support.
 6. Start the interview by stating the complaint to the
    employee and referring to the evidence.
 7. Give the employee plenty of time to respond and state
    their case.
 8. Take a break as required to consider the points raised and
    to relieve any pressure taking place in the meeting.
 9. Consider what action is appropriate, if any. Actions
    should be staged, starting with a recorded written
    warning, followed, if the problem continues, by a first
    written warning, then a final written warning and lastly, if
    the earlier stages have been exhausted, disciplinary action,
    which would be dismissal in serious cases.
10. Deliver the decision, explaining why it has been taken and
    confirm it in writing.

If all the stages in the disciplinary procedure have been com-
pleted and the employee has to be dismissed, or where imme-
diate dismissal can be justified on the grounds of gross
misconduct, you may have to carry out the unpleasant duty of
dismissing the employee. Again, you should have a colleague or
someone from HR with you when you do this. You should:

■   if possible, meet when the office is quiet, preferably on a
142 ■ How to manage people

■ keep the meeting formal and organized;
■ write down what you are going to say in advance, giving
  the reason and getting your facts, dates and figures right;
■ be polite but firm – read out what you have written down
  and make it clear that it is not open for discussion;
■ ensure that the employee clears his or her desk and has no
  opportunity to take away confidential material or use their
■ see the employee off the premises – some companies use
  security guards as escorts but this is rather heavy handed,
  although it might be useful to have someone on call in case
  of difficulties.

Handling negative behaviour
You may well come across negative behaviour from time to
time on the part of one of the members of your team. This may
take the form of lack of interest in the work, unwillingness to
cooperate with you or other members of the team, unreason-
ably complaining about the work or working conditions, grum-
bling at being asked to carry out a perfectly reasonable task,
objecting strongly to being asked to do something extra (or
even refusing to do it) – ‘it’s not in my job description’, or, in
extreme cases, insolence. People exhibiting negative behaviour
may be quietly resentful rather than openly disruptive. They
mutter away in the background at meetings and lack enthu-
   As a manager you can tolerate a certain amount of negative
behaviour as long as the individual works reasonably well and
does not upset other team members. You have simply to say to
yourself ‘It takes all sorts...’ and put up with it, although you
might quietly say during a review meeting ‘You’re doing a good
job but...’. If, however, you do take this line you have to be
specific. You must cite actual instances. It is no good making
generalized accusations which will either be openly refuted or
internalized by the receiver, making him or her even more
                                   Handling people problems ■ 143

  If the negative behaviour means that the individual’s contri-
bution is not acceptable and is disruptive then you must take
action. Negative people can be quiet but they are usually angry
about something; their negative behaviour is an easy way of
expressing their anger. To deal with the problem it is necessary
to find out what has made the person angry.

Causes of negative behaviour
There are many possible causes of negative behaviour, which
could include one or more of the following:
■ a real or imagined slight from you or a colleague;
■ a feeling of being put upon;
■ a belief that the contribution made by the person is neither
  appreciated nor rewarded properly in terms of pay or
■ resentment at what was perceived to be unfair criticism;
■ anger directed at the company or you because what was
  considered to be a reasonable request was turned down, eg
  for leave or a transfer, or because of an unfair accusation.

Dealing with the problem
It is because there can be such a variety of real or imagined
causes of negative behaviour that dealing with it becomes one
of the most difficult tasks you have to undertake. If the action
taken is crude or insensitive the negative behaviour will only be
intensified. This might end up in your having to invoke the
disciplinary procedure, which should be your last resort.
   In one sense, it is easier to deal with an actual example of
negative behaviour. This can be handled on the spot. If the
problem is one of general attitude rather than specific actions it
is more difficult to cope with. Hard evidence may not be suffi-
ciently available. When individuals are accused of being, for
example, generally unenthusiastic or uncooperative, they can
simply go into denial, and accuse you of being prejudiced.
Their negative behaviour may be reinforced.
144 ■ How to manage people

  If you have to deal with this sort of problem it is best to do it
informally, either when it arises or at any point during the year
when you feel that something has to be done about it. An
annual formal performance review or appraisal meeting is not
the right time, especially if it produces ratings which are linked
to a pay increase. Raising the issue then will only put individ-
uals on the defensive and a productive discussion will be
  The discussion may be informal but it should have three clear

1. To discuss the situation with individuals, the aim being
   if possible to get them to recognize for themselves that
   they are behaving negatively. If this cannot be achieved,
   then the object is to bring to the attention of individuals
   your belief that their behaviour is unacceptable in certain
2. To establish the reasons for the individuals’ negative behav-
   iour so far as this is feasible.
3. To discuss and agree any actions individuals could take to
   behave more positively, or what you or the organization
   could do to remove the causes of the behaviour.

Discussing the problem
Start by asking generally how individuals feel about their work.
Do they have any problems in carrying it out? Are they happy
with the support they get from you or their colleagues? Are
they satisfied that they are pulling their weight to the best of
their ability?
  You may find that this generalized start provides the basis for
the next two stages – identifying the causes and remedies. It is
best if individuals are encouraged to identify for themselves
that there is a problem. But in many, if not the majority of
cases, this is unlikely to happen. Individuals may not recognize
that they are behaving negatively or will not be prepared to
admit it.
                                   Handling people problems ■ 145

   You will then have to discuss the problem. You could say
truthfully that you are concerned because they seem to be
unhappy and you wish to know if they feel that you or the
organization is treating them unfairly – you want to try to put
things right. Give them time to say their piece and then provide
a rational response, dealing with specific grievances. If they are
not satisfied with your explanation you can say that they will
be given the opportunity to discuss the problem with a more
senior manager, thus indicating that you recognize that your
judgement is not final.
   If the response you get to these initial points does not bring
out into the open the problem as you see it, you have to explain
how the individual’s behaviour gives the impression of being
negative. Be as specific as possible about the behaviour,
bringing up actual instances. For example, a discussion could
be based on the following questions: ‘Do you recall yesterday’s
team meeting?’, ‘How did you think it went?’, ‘How helpful do
you think you were in dealing with the problem?’, ‘Do you
remember saying…?’, ‘How helpful do you think that remark
was?’, ‘Would it surprise you to learn that I felt you had not
been particularly helpful in the following ways…?’
   Of course, even if this careful approach is adopted, there will
be occasions when individuals refuse to admit that there is
anything wrong with their behaviour. If you reach this impasse,
then you have no alternative but to spell out to them your
perceptions of where they have gone wrong. But do this in a
positive way: ‘Then I think that it is only fair for me to point
out to you that your contribution (to the meeting) would have
been more helpful if you had…’

Establishing causes
If the negative behaviour is because of a real or imagined griev-
ance about what you or colleagues or the organization has
done, then you have to get individuals to spell this out as
precisely as possible. At this point, your job is to listen, not to
judge. People can be just as angry about imaginary as real
146 ■ How to manage people

slights. You have to find out how they perceive the problem
before you can deal with it.
   It may emerge during the discussion that the problem has
nothing to do with you or the company. It may be family trou-
bles or worries about health or finance. If this is the case you
can be sympathetic and may be able to suggest remedies in the
form of counselling or practical advice from within or outside
the organization.
   If the perceived problem is you, colleagues or the organiza-
tion, try to get chapter and verse on what it is so that you are in
a position to take remedial action or to explain the real facts of
the case.

Taking remedial action
If the problem rests with the individual, the objective is, of
course, to get them to recognize for themselves that corrective
action is necessary and what they need to do about it – with
your help as necessary. In this situation you might suggest
counselling or recommend a source of advice. But be careful,
you don’t want to imply that there is something wrong with
them. You should go no further than suggesting that individ-
uals may find this helpful – they don’t need it but they could
benefit from it. You should be careful about offering coun-
selling advice yourself. This is better done by professional
   If there is anything specific that the parties involved in the
situation can do, then the line to take is that we can tackle this
problem together: ‘This is what I will do’, ‘This is what the
company will do’, ‘What do you think you should do?’ If there
is no response to the last question, then this is the point where
you have to spell out the action you think they need to take. Be
as specific as possible and try to express your wishes as sugges-
tions, not commands. A joint problem-solving approach is
always best.
                                    Handling people problems ■ 147

  10 approaches to managing
  negative behaviour
   1. Define the type of negative behaviour which is being
      exhibited. Make notes of examples.
   2. Discuss the behaviour with the individual as soon as
      possible, aiming to get agreement about what it is and the
      impact it makes.
   3. If agreement is not obtained, give actual examples of
      behaviour and explain why you believe them to be nega-
   4. Discuss and so far as possible agree reasons for the nega-
      tive behaviour, including those attributed to the individual,
      yourself and the organization.
   5. Discuss and agree possible remedies – actions on the part
      of the individual, yourself or the organization.
   6. Monitor the actions taken and the results obtained.
   7. If improvement is not achieved and the negative behaviour
      is significantly affecting the performance of the individual
      and the team, then invoke the disciplinary procedure.
   8. Start with a verbal warning, indicating the ways in which
      behaviour must improve and give a timescale and offers of
      further support and help as required.
   9. If there is no improvement, issue a formal warning, setting
      out as specifically as possible what must be achieved over
      a defined period of time, indicating the disciplinary action
      that could be taken.
  10. If the negative behaviour persists and continues seriously
      to affect performance, take the disciplinary action.

Handling poor timekeeping
If you are faced with persistent lateness and your informal
warnings to the individual concerned seem to have little effect,
you may be forced to invoke the disciplinary procedure. If time-
keeping does not improve, this could go through the successive
stages of a recorded oral warning, a written warning and a final
148 ■ How to manage people

written warning. If the final warning does not work, discipli-
nary action would have to be taken; in serious cases this would
mean dismissal.
  Note that this raises the difficult question of time limits when
you give a final warning that timekeeping must improve by a
certain date, the improvement period. If it does improve by that
date and the slate is wiped clean, it might be assumed that the
disciplinary procedure starts again from scratch if timekeeping
deteriorates again. But it is in the nature of things that some
people cannot sustain efforts to get to work on time for long,
and deterioration often occurs. In these circumstances, do you
have to keep on going through the warning cycles time after
time? The answer ought to be no, and the best approach seems
to be to avoid stating a finite end date to a final warning
period, which implies a ‘wipe the slate clean’ approach.
Instead, the warning should simply say that timekeeping
performance will be reviewed on a stated date. If it has not
improved, disciplinary action can be taken. If it has, no action
will be taken, but the employee is warned that further deterio-
ration will make him or her liable to disciplinary action which
may well speed up the normal procedure, perhaps by only
using the final warning stage and by reducing the elapsed time
between the warning and the review date. There will come a
time, if poor timekeeping persists, when you can say ‘enough is
enough’ and initiate disciplinary action.

Dealing with under-performers
You may possibly have someone who is under-performing in
your team. If so, what can you do about it? Essentially, you
have to spot that there is a problem, understand the cause of
the problem, decide on a remedy and make the remedy work.
  Poor performance can be the fault of the individual but it
could arise because of poor leadership or problems in the
system of work. In the case of an individual the reason may be
that he or she:
                                      Handling people problems ■ 149

■    could not do it – ability;
■    did not know how to do it – skill; or
■    would not do it – attitude;
■    did not fully understand what was expected of them.

Inadequate leadership from managers can be the cause of poor
performance from individuals. It is the manager’s responsibility
to specify the results expected and the levels of skill and compe-
tence required. As likely as not, when people do not understand
what they have to do, it is their manager who is to blame.
   Performance can also be affected by the system of work. If
this is badly planned and organized or does not function well,
individuals cannot be blamed for the poor performance that
results. This is the fault of management and they must put it
   If inadequate individual performance cannot be attributed to
poor leadership or the system of work, these are the seven steps
you can take to deal with under-performers:

    A 7-step approach to managing
    1. Identify the areas of under-performance – be specific.
    2. Establish the causes of poor performance.
    3. Agree on the action required.
    4. Ensure that the necessary support (coaching, training, extra
       resources etc) is provided to ensure the action is successful.
    5. Monitor progress and provide feedback.
    6. Provide additional guidance as required.
    7. As a last resort, invoke the capability or disciplinary proce-
       dure, starting with an informal warning.

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absenteeism 137–39                 giving out the work 72–74
achievement 46                     hard delegation 73
achievement motivation 4           and learning 112
achievers 10–11                    monitoring performance
Adair, John 20–21, 25–26              74–75
authority 8                        process of 70
autonomy 46                        soft delegation 74
                                   what to delegate 71
behaviour indicators 5–7           when to delegate 70–71
behavioural competencies 4       develop, opportunity to 46–47
behavioural expectations 94      developing people 5
business awareness 4-5           discipline
                                   disciplinary interview 141
change management see managing     procedure 139
     change                      dismissal 139–40, 141–42
coaching 114–16
communication 5                  emotional intelligence 28–29
competence 4                     empowering people 49
competency framework 4–5         engagement 47–48
controlling 13–14                equity 123
customer focus 5                 expectancy theory 39–40
                                 extrinsic motivation 37
decentralization 53
decisive, being 15–17            fairness 123
delayering 53                    felt-fair principle 123
delegation                       financial rewards 42–44, 122
  advantages of 68–69            flexibility 5, 53
  approaches to 69               followers 28–29
  choosing who does the work
     71–72                       getting things done through people
  defined 67–68                       3
  difficulties 69                goal theory 39
                                                            Index ■ 153

halo effect 88                         managers
horns effect 88                         attributes of success 7
induction training 110, 112             key aspects 7
instruction 117–19                      and leaders 18–19
interviewing see selection              responsibility for helping people
     interviewing                          to earn and develop 105
intrinsic motivation 37                 role of 3
                                       managerial effectiveness
job design 54                          managing change
job instruction 117–19                  approaches to 130–32
                                        communicating plans for
leaders                                    134–35
   and followers 28–29                  resistance to change 132–34
   good leaders 24–26                  managing performance
   and managers 18                      continuous process of 96–97
   post-heroic 22                       importance of 90
   roles 20                             performance planning 92–93
leadership                              performance review meetings
   checklists 32–33                        97–104
   competencies 5, 26                   process of 91–92
   defined 18, 34                      mentoring 116–17
   effectiveness 18–19                 motivating people 34–35
   and emotional intelligence          motivation
      28–29                             approaches to 42–44, 47
   Jack Welch on 21–22                  defined 35–36
   and management 18                    extrinsic 37
   path-goal model 21, 23               intrinsic 37
   skills. assessment of 30–            and leadership 27
   skills, development of 29–30         messages of motivation theory
   styles 22–24                            41
   three-circle model 20–21             process of 36–37
learning                                theories 38–40
   conditions for effective learning
      106–07                           needs 38
   continuous 112                      negative behaviour, handling of
   contracts 112–13                      approaches to 147
   and delegation 112                    causes of 143
   formal 108                            dealing with 143–47
   informal 109                          form of 142
   needs 110                           non-financial rewards 44–47,
   promoting 109–10                        122
   self-managed learning
      107–08                           objectives
   specification 111                     defined 93
Loo-Tzu 24–25                            good objectives 95
                                         objective-setting 95–96
making things happen      8–9            types of 93–95
management                             organizing
 and leadership 18                       aim 51–52
154 ■ Index

  guidelines   52–54                rewarding people
  process of   50–51                  approaches to 121–22
                                      financial rewards 122–24
path-goal model of leadership 21,     fixing grades and rates of pay
     23                                  124–25
pay                                   non-financial rewards 122
  fixing rates 124                    reviewing pay 125–28
  reviewing 125–28                  role 53
people                              role objectives 93
  motivating 34–35                  role profiles 55–59
  as a resource 3
people problems, handling of        selection interviewing
  absenteeism 137–39                   approach to 78
  approach 136                         assessing the data 87
  disciplinary issues 139–42           biographical approach 82
performance                            concluding 88–89
  improvement 94–95                    content of an interview 79–81
  indicators 6–7                       criteria-based interviewers
  management of 91–92                     82–83
  monitoring 74–75                     nature of 77–78
  planning 92–93                       planning the interview
performance management 91                 82–83
performance-related pay 34             preparing for the interview 81
performance review meetings            questioning 83–87
  conducting 99–100                    span of control 53
  issues, dealing with 103          self-managed learning 107–08
  nature of 97
  objectives of 97–98               targets 93
  performance review skills         teams
     100                              assessment of performance
  preparing for 98–99                    63–65
  questions 101–03                    characteristics of 61–62
personal development planning         defined 61
     113–14                           effectiveness 62–66
personality 9                       team building 60
planning                            teamwork
  as a competency 5                   achievement of 65–66
prioritizing 11–13                    assessment of 32–33
problem solving                       as a competency 5
  as a competency 5                   defined 61
  techniques 14–15                    organization of 52–53
                                    three-circle model of leadership
quality of working life    38            20–21
                                    timekeeping 147–48
recognition 44–46
responsibility 46                   under-performers    148–49
reward system
  defined 120–21                    Welch, Jack 21–22
  managing without        128–29    work objectives 93

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